The average employee works 40 hours per week. These hours are a long time to be in the workplace. So, understandably, employers want to make it as pleasant as possible.
As an employer, you are responsible for safeguarding your employees’ health and safety. You’ll need to ensure that your workplace complies with the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) specifies it is ‘the duty of every employer to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare at work of all his employees.
In truth, potential safety dangers can exist anywhere, whether it’s a job site with heavy gear or equipment or an office with desks and chairs. This fact establishes that employee health and safety should be a significant focus when designing a workspace.
To ensure you have the best, let’s discuss some health and safety considerations when designing a new office in this article.
Let’s dive in!
Considerations When Designing your New Office
1. Digital Signage
Whether it’s a natural disaster, an active shooter incident, or any other life-threatening emergency, clear communication, and concise instructions are vital to protecting your employees, preventing panic, and ensuring they get out safely.
Digital signage can save lives in emergencies. Digital displays, unlike static posters, can instantaneously warn or notify people of a crisis in real-time, even in regions where cell phones and other electronic devices are prohibited.
Digital text, easy-to-read format can assist in broadcasting emergency information in a simple, digestible format. This is especially crucial for non-native language speakers and deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.
2. Fire Protection Design
Fire safety is one of the essential health and safety components because it affects everyone in the building. To reduce fire outbreaks, precautions are necessary to be considered by planning a fire protection design and structure.
Place appropriate fire safety equipment in your offices, such as fire extinguishers or blankets. It’s also critical to have a reliable evacuation plan in place.
3. Restroom Experience
A filthy, unkempt bathroom at the workplace is more than an annoyance or a potential health hazard. It sends a clear message to your visitors and staff that you don’t care about their health and safety.
According to Kimberly-Clark data, the average American employee uses the restroom three to four times each day.
The restroom provides privacy that isn’t often available elsewhere in the office. An enhanced (and safer) toilet experience can significantly impact workplace culture and overall well-being.
All employees require access to a sufficient number of restrooms to maintain a safe and sanitary workplace.
According to OSHA, workplaces with 15 employees must provide one water closet and one additional fixture for every 40 other employees.
Furthermore, businesses may prefer touch-free paper towel dispensers instead of electric hand dryers. Paper towel, dispensers, rather than hand dryers, can assist users in drying their hands faster, removing pathogens, and creating less pollution.
4. Office Layout
One of the essential design considerations is the layout of your office, which directly impacts staff productivity and the overall aesthetics of your workplace.
Ensure the workplace flow is unencumbered and that every section has easy access to a fire door or escape path should employees need to evacuate.
Another aspect to consider while planning your workstation is lighting. You must ensure that spaces are suitably illuminated to avoid eye strain and the danger of accidents.
It would be best to replace flickering or blown bulbs as soon as possible. You may arrange for the office to take advantage of natural lighting to save money on energy and possibly boost staff morale.
According to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report, office safety should be an obligation and requires that all employers provide an office environment free from hazards.
You put your employees in danger of long-term injuries or diseases when you don’t design for workplace safety. These issues can jeopardize their livelihood and quality of life for many years.
When businesses prepare for employee safety, it tells their workers that they are valued.
Among others, employers must consider their office fire protection design to ensure the safety of their employees during a fire outbreak.