Business

How to Design a Safe and Healthy Office?

By: Tim Walker

According to research, the average person spends at least 40 hours per week in his/her workplace or office. With this much time spend in the workplace, creating a safe and comfortable environment for everyone is crucial. Employers need to ensure all their staff is not only pleasant but also safe in the workplace. This can be done by creating a comfortable, hygienic, and safe environment free from hazards and risks.

Proper planning is needed to design an office setup that is not only aesthetically appealing but also safe and with all the essentials needed to make everything flow smoothly. Outlined below are some of the critical areas you should focus on when designing an office interior, as well as the top considerations for fully functional, safe, and healthy environment for your staff.

Health and Safety Legislation

According to the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the employer has the mandate to ensure the welfare, safety, and health of the workplace and employees isn’t at any risk. The law specifies that employees should be guaranteed of their safety when working in your company. In addition to this, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the systems of work do not pose any health risk to staff, ensure employees are properly and adequately trained and facilitate proper storage of substances and articles.
The workplace also needs to be assessed for risks that could prove dangerous or hazardous to people. To do this, take a tour around the workplace and identify (record) anything that seems risky. Categorize the hazards from low risk to high risk to determine which needs to be tackled first to make the workplace a lot safer. Some of the areas you ought to focus on to make the workplace safe and healthier include:

1. Lighting

Always ensure the workplace has adequate lighting for optimal performance, visibility, and good health. Watch out for blown or flickering bulbs and have them replaced immediately. A poorly lit room is not only challenging to work in, but also increases the risk of accidents happening. Be sure to take advantage of natural light where possible to improve indoor lighting. Decorating your office with commercial painters London can create a bright and motivating environment for your staff.  Also, encouraging employees to open windows to let in light and fresh air is recommended too.

2. Fire Safety

Fire safety is essential for every workplace. Taking all the necessary measures to reduce the risk of fires, and providing enough fire safety systems goes a long way in making the workplace much safer. These systems make it easy for employees to be able to evacuate in case of a fire, or even try to extinguish it before it causes any more damage or harm.
Having fire alarms installed in all rooms, and placing fire extinguishers in easy to reach areas is recommended too. While these systems are important, the workplace too needs to have enough room to enable firefighters access to these with ease.

3. Layout

The office layout or plan is another factor to consider when designing an office. Ensuring the office layout is in line with the health and safety regulations not only helps improve productivity, but also reduces many health risks, including fires.  Ensure your current office plan facilitates free-flow in and out of the office with little or no obstructions. Have exit routes clearly labelled to facilitate easy evacuation in the event of an emergency.

4. Washrooms

This is a commonly overlooked feature in many workplaces today. It is, however, advisable to ensure there are enough washrooms to be able to maintain proper hygiene in the workplace. Having more than 20 employees share a single washroom isn’t recommended as it only encourages the spread and growth of bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Have the toilets equipped with a hand-dryer, sanitizer, or soap.

5. Health

Other factors that affect an individual’s comfort and health, such as easy access to drinking water, comfortable temperature, and fresh air should be considered when designing an office. Having a water dispenser and a good HVAC system in the office is a huge plus to office hygiene and health.