When you are an employer, you have many different responsibilities, and one of those is that you must keep everyone who works for you – and any member of the public who comes into your workplace – safe. This can involve a wide range of different measures, and exactly what is required will depend on the industry you work in and specifically on what you do within your sector.
However, something that is true for everyone, no matter who they are, how many people they employ, or what they do, is that they need to take health and safety in the workplace seriously. With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure that your health and safety measures are good ones and that, if need be, you can improve the health and safety at your workplace.
Detailed Risk Assessments
One of the many things you’ll learn on an IOSH health and safety course is to create a detailed risk assessment of any situation you might be in. This could be a specific job that entails dangerous working methods (welding, electricity, working at heights, and so on), or it could simply be a risk assessment of the potential dangers within the office environment.
Even if you don’t think a risk assessment is necessary, it’s good to get into the habit of creating one for every situation and for everyone who works for you. In that way, you can be sure you’ve made your office or workspace as safe as possible, and when you do come across issues, you can fix them or give everyone instructions on how, if they cannot be removed, to deal with them.
When you are working in an office environment, something that you can easily put in place to ensure that your employees are safe and comfortable (and thus more productive and happier in their work) is ergonomically designed furniture. Ergonomics is the process of ensuring that furniture and other elements are designed to fit the body and not the other way around.
To begin with, the desk and chair that each employee needs to sit at to do their work must be ergonomic. Ergonomic chairs are designed to support the spine specifically and, therefore, will prevent back pain – they can be adjusted to the right height for each individual. The chair and the desk must work together so that the worker’s feet are flat on the floor and their eyes are in line with their monitor.
You can also include ergonomic keyboards in your office. These are meant to reduce muscle strain because the hands are able to rest in a more natural position, thanks for the design. Footrests, wrist-rests, and other ergonomic furniture may also be required. Look at the workspaces you offer your team and determine how safe and comfortable they are, and make any necessary changes to ensure your employees can work comfortably.
Health and Safety Apps
We use our mobile devices for so much that it makes sense there will be specially designed health and safety apps to download.
There are apps, for example, that will send out an alarm to let the employee know that it’s time to take a break (a few minutes each hour away from the desk and screen is ideal, but it’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to do it), and apps that will help the employee feel more positive, or allow them to listen to soothing sounds like storm noises or waves crashing on the shore as they work.
There are also more information-based apps, giving everyone the chance to understand more about why health and safety are important and offering knowledge about what to eat, how long to sleep, and how to take care of their mental health.
Let your team know about these apps and check-in with them from time to time to find out if they are helping.
The Right PPE
Working in a standard office environment might not necessitate the need for any PPE (personal protective equipment), but there are jobs that will need it, and as an employer, it’s your duty to provide it. Not only must you provide PPE, but it must be the right kind, it must be of good quality, and you’ll need to offer training to your staff in how to use it.
By giving your employees the protective equipment they’ll need to do their job and making sure they know exactly how to use it, you are helping them and giving them the autonomy they need when making decisions for their own health and safety. If anything were to go wrong and you hadn’t done this, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.