The world of office safety is constantly evolving, and it can present a challenge to keep up with the latest best practices. However, as a manager, keeping your office safe is one of your top priorities. So what do you need to know about the changes to office safety in 2023? Here’s a guide to help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and recommendations.
Why Focus On Safety For 2023?
Keeping a safe office is an important goal for any organization. Not only is it beneficial to ensure the health and well-being of office staff, but office safety also impacts team member productivity and morale.
Many industries are returning to staffed facilities following the two (plus) years of the pandemic. So at a time when personnel feels less secure returning to their work environments than they did before the pandemic, we need to nurture safe workplaces more than ever.
Team members who feel confident about their safety in the workplace can better focus on their tasks.
A Need For A Focus On Culture
Building a culture of office safety begins with implementing effective, safe work practices that are adhered to daily by everyone in the office. Such in-house regulations may include the following:
- Wearing protective gear or clothing (PPE).
- Refraining from horseplay or excessive noise levels.
- Ensuring prompt attention to hazards such as trip hazards and slippery floors.
Office personnel needs to stay vigilant so that office safety remains intact.
According to the CDC, there is a strong connection between musculoskeletal disorders and workplace factors. Offices and team members have unique hazards that may seem trivial but cause significant yearly injuries.
The Hazards of Office Workplaces
Offices possess specific hazards, but the most common injuries tell us the worst risks. In 2020, according to the CDC, slips, and trips were among the top three reasons for emergency room visits.
In an office environment, from my experience, five things cause accidents regularly in offices:
- Carpets – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost tripped on one of those black rubberized rental carpets tossed about the entrance of an office. They always seem to get bunched up; if you aren’t paying attention, it’s easy to trip.
- Uneven steps or transitions – More than a few offices have another critical trip hazard: an uneven entrance step or a transition between floor types, like carpet to tiling. These transitions can have a slight raise or even come loose, providing a trip hazard. Floor inspection on a regular is a great way to identify so that you can mitigate these hazards.
- Slippery conditions – I live in an area with typical snowy, slushy winters. In fact, according to Eos.org, about 31% of our planet gets snow each year. Slippery office floors are a big problem, so ensuring floor care (via those carpets I mentioned) is a good start.
- Cords – You have seen those printers or extension cords across the floor, right? Those are a big problem in many offices that need more outlets to service the plethora of modern technology. Older offices need help with this problem.
- Obstructions – A drawer left open, a wastebasket in an aisle, and a box of paper on the floor in the printer room are all common obstructions in offices worldwide. You know that offices can give you plenty of opportunities to stub your toe or go for a dive. Avoiding obstacles in the office comes from smart storage, organization, and maintaining clear paths for team members.
Of course, these are only a few hazards that you’ll encounter in the office. Don’t even get me started on using chairs with rollers as a step. I know you’ve seen that special someone in your office attempt to do this, right? And you just wait for the chair to roll out from under them. I’m constantly amazed at how many people try this feat of foolish risk, but believe me, it happens.
How To Create A Safe Environment For Employees
Establishing a safe office environment is essential for maximizing team member morale and productivity. Implementing office safety policies and procedures, like following proper ergonomics while using office equipment, will help to minimize workplace injuries.
Encouraging team members to practice safe work practices, such as standing up frequently, helps ensure that the office remains a risk-free workplace. Additionally, incorporating appropriate office furniture, validating the health of equipment regularly, and ensuring that you promptly address trip hazards are just some of the ways organizations can create a safe office environment for their team.
In order to facilitate a more straightforward inclusion of smart regulations into your office workspace, we’ve compiled a simple and actionable list of steps for you to follow.
Implementing Health and Safety Procedures In A Safe Office Environment
- Ensure that you have a robust Health and Safety manual. Start by identifying the roles within the organization, the duties of each position, and the subsequent hazards that each position might face. Define procedures for preventing, mitigating, and dealing with those hazards mentioned.
- Ensure your Health and Safety manual includes procedures for standard office duties or SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) for each role within the organization.
- Provide each team member a copy of the Health and Safety manual (updated, following the above two steps).
- Please provide a copy of each SOP with the associated role to which it remains relevant.
- Review standard operating procedures with each person. Ensure they are aware of safety procedures outlined in the Health and Safety manual.
To sum up, you will need a document that details what to do in case of an emergency, accident, or injury at work.
What To Do In Case Of An Accident Or Injury
Ensuring you give the utmost attention to office health and safety is critical for any business. Similarly, addressing accidents or injuries quickly and effectively is vital to maintaining a safe office environment.
In the event of an accident or injury, office personnel should remain calm to protect all team members’ well-being. The next step depends on the nature of the incident; however, in our case, the next step is to open our 1st Reporting app quickly (incident reporting software).
Gathering emergency response details is critical, but knowing what to do first is more critical. With our app, we’ve created custom dynamic checklists that adapt to the situation. Using the latest technology, you can also have a system that responds with the proper procedure checklist. Using a procedural list for injuries at work can guide your team to perform precisely the way you need when it is most critical.
Using 1st, you can also gather incident information, such as detailed information on what happened. Similarly, it’s easy for you to set up a team so users providing first aid (if necessary) might note their actions and how those actions came to pass.
Preparedness is critical when it comes to office health and safety, so take the time to review the right safety tools to use and protocols to follow in an emergency.
After all, prevention is the best way to avoid incidents, so setting up systems to control and mitigate hazards is the proper choice. Speaking of prevention, let’s talk more about ways you can help prevent office incidents from occurring.
How To Prevent Accidents And Injuries From Happening
There are several ways to reduce the probability of an accident or injury occurring in the office, beginning with assessing your office environment for potential hazards.
- Ensure your team regularly keeps up with proper housekeeping, such as making sure floors are clear of clutter and maintaining walkways.
- Periodically train staff on office safety so team members easily recall procedures in an emergency. Similarly, you’ll want to maintain a safety training log that includes signatures from team members denoting their acceptance of said training. This method helps cover your liability and show your due diligence to adhere to safety procedures. This act, in turn, helps grow office morale. It accomplishes this latest feat by ensuring that office staff feels safe in their workplace.
- Regularly inspecting office equipment can prevent malfunctions that might cause accidents or injuries. By taking these preventive steps, office staff can feel secure knowing they are prioritizing their safety in the workplace, a win-win for you and your team.
Did you notice how I separated you from your team there? I didn’t do that to make you feel alienated; rather, I designated the difference because, as a manager, you have different responsibilities to safety than those who work under your supervision. Let’s talk a little more about role responsibility.
The Role Of Managers In Promoting Office Safety
Managers play a pivotal role in promoting office safety as a key indicator of what is expected in any organization. The manager’s burden of authority is instrumental in creating a safe environment for team members and ensuring everyone meets established safety protocols.
Leaders must lead by example. With this responsibility comes the expectation that managers perform due diligence to uphold preventive controls and maintain compliance with relevant regulations.
Of course, the objective here is to protect the health and well-being of staff members, clients, and any other pedestrians who might enter your work environment. Therefore, team members must actively participate in any department safety program. It’s up to the managers like you to lead the way and start the conversation.
Under OSH law, employers must “Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards.” As a manager, your job typically includes ownership of the above responsibility within the sphere of those you oversee. In other words, you are in charge of the safety of those you supervise.
Tips For Creating A Safe Office Environment
You must make a safe office environment the top priority for 2023. Here are a few tips to help you do that without breaking your budget and rocking the boat of your accounting department.
- Implement Safety Tools such as safety management and reporting software like 1st. Safety tools can significantly reduce the risk of injury to those in the workplace.
- Update Documentation Regularly. Effective safety management requires strong safety policies that are up-to-date with current safety protocols and regularly enforced.
- Provide safety tools such as personal protective equipment, signage, and training on safety topics relevant to each role and the environment.
- Regularly Review Safety Procedures through safety meetings, audits, and team member feedback. As your team progresses throughout the year, they will gain perspective on hazards as they gain clarity. It provides an opportunity to identify potential hazards or unsafe work practices before an incident occurs.
The Final Thought
Creating a safe work environment for your team is essential to protecting their health and preventing accidents and injuries. It’s also critical to your own liability protection as a manager.
By identifying office hazards, implementing health and safety procedures, and promoting safety in the workplace, you can create a safer environment for everyone.
1streporting offers an easy-to-use reporting app that makes tracking and managing hazards in your office simpler than ever. Try 1stReporting today to see how easy it is to keep your workplace safe.