The rules of health and safety in the workplace can be a myriad of information on occasion. If you work in an established organization, the rules are enforced on a regular basis. Or, at least they should be. If you are working on a startup company, or have just moved into a new building, do you know what the basics are? And do you have the right facilities to make sure the space you work in is as safe as it can be? The aim to reduce workplace accidents needs to be a priority, not just for safety reasons, but to reduce cost. In the UK, staff illness can cost an employer £32 million per year. So what can you do to make sure your office is in the best shape it can be?
Your Staff Hygiene
Staff illness from common ailments such as cold and flu are common. Make sure the business promotes hygiene. You can purchase posters with hygiene slogans as a reminder to all employees to wash their hands, or to clean up after themselves.
If you are moving into a new building, a reminder of the basics are as follows:
- Toilets and hand basins, with soap and towels or a hand-dryer.
- Drinking water.
- Somewhere to rest and eat meals.
- A place to store clothing (and somewhere to change if special clothing is needed for work).
Hazards in the workplace, however small, can cause major issues. Have the correct signage for hazards like water and risk of tripping.
A few ways to prevent hazards are:
- Properly maintain your premises and work equipment.
- Keep floors free from obstruction.
- Have windows that can be opened and also cleaned safely.
- Make sure that any transparent doors or walls are protected or made of safety material.
Another topic that covers different areas, from mental health to the environment they work in.
Providing a healthy working environment will consist of, but not limited to, the following:
- Good ventilation. Having a supply of fresh, clean air coming in from outside or a ventilation system.
- A good temperature to work in, like 16°C or 60.8°F at least. Or if physical work is being undertaken, 13°C or 55.4°F.
- Making sure there is suitable lighting for the work being carried out.
- Ensure there is enough space and suitable workstations and seating for your staff.
- Have a clean workplace with appropriate waste containers, such as recycling.
The issue of mental health in the workplace is another aspect that needs to be openly discussed. Circumstances of mental illness or stress and anxiety are much more commonly spoken of now. Encourage an open door policy with your staff members. If someone is not feeling like they can speak up, it can compound itself and may cause additional problems for them further down the line.
Health and safety in the workplace is not just a box ticking exercise. So make sure these are rules that you enforce, and live by.