It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for: after nearly 18 months of working from home, offices across the UK are opening back up, and so many of us can’t wait to catch up with colleagues and resume meetings face-to-face!
But because we haven’t been in the office for so long, it’s important to be extra cautious, to ensure we reduce the risk of accidents at work. Here, we outline five ways you can keep your employees happy and safe in the office.
1. Create and implement a safety programme
Before your employees return to the office, take the time to have a walk around, and identify anything that’s a potential hazard. Then, you can take steps to remove that hazard, and prevent it from happening again.
When staff come back, set aside half a day where you can train them on how to keep the office safe, and encourage them to report potential hazards when they see them. It would also be beneficial to send some of your employees on a first aid course, just in case anything should happen.
2. Keep your office clean and tidy
Loose wires and cables are a sure-fire way for your employees to injure themselves by tripping over them. Ensure cables are neatly tucked away, no boxes are left on the floor, and that desks are kept clean. If there are any spilt liquids in the kitchen, make sure you wipe them up, even if you didn’t spill it (and make sure employees have the same mentality!); in order to prevent potential accidents before they happen.
3. Empower employees with the information they need
Whilst as a general rule, office workers may not be required to do a lot of heavy lifting; there may be an occasion where a heavy parcel gets delivered, or employees are moving desks and need to lift computer monitors and chairs. If you know that something like this is likely to happen, provide them with the knowledge they need to do it safely, and injury-free.
And if you don’t know how to safely lift a heavy object, follow these simple steps:
- Bend your knees and squat as you pick up the object
- Keep your back straight
- When putting the object down, take the weight in your legs, not your back
4. Set up all office equipment correctly – and regularly audit it
When you think of a workplace accident, slips, trips and falls likely spring to mind; but there are other, less-obvious accidents that are waiting to happen.
With people coming back to the office, it’s the perfect time to ensure all equipment is set up correctly. Make sure all office chairs are set up to provide the right amount of back support, and that keyboards and monitors are at the right angle.
You should also encourage all employees to take regular screen breaks, to give their eyes a rest. Having a quick tea break and catching up with colleagues is great for wellbeing too, so it’s a win-win situation!
5. Avoid the temptation of shortcuts
It sounds obvious, but mistakes are most likely to happen when tasks are done quickly. Your employees’ safety should be the most important thing to you, so when implementing safety measures, don’t cut corners.
You should also encourage your employees to do the same – completing a task they’ve done before may make them think they don’t need to take adequate safety measures, but it could cause an injury, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Injuries in the office may not be as common as other workplaces like construction sites or factories, but that doesn’t mean they don’t occur. However, by taking the steps to safety-proof your office, and educating your employees on the role they play too; you’re helping to significantly reduce the risk.