Working in an office environment is generally safe, especially when compared with the hazards associated with other professions, such as construction work or law enforcement. With that said, there are in fact a number of dangers associated with working in an office everyday, however small the risk. Hazards such as trips and falls, fires and adverse weather conditions must all be prepared for, and this task will typically fall on the shoulders of a human resources department.
The duty of care to all employees starts the moment they step onto the property, and it doesn't cease until the moment they leave. Certainly, alongside the conspicuous ethical motivations for keeping employees safe, it's also necessary for legal reasons: If an employee is injured or put in any obvious danger while on the clock, they would have sufficient grounds for a costly lawsuit.
Below is a quick guide of four tips for HR professionals looking to maximize the safety and security of their office environment:
1. Keep workspace hazard free
Ensure that all walkways are clear of any objects that could present tripping hazards, and also ensure that all fire escapes are clear of "props" or other items designed to keep them open. Such items are actually considered to be a fire hazard, according to LinkedIn. Also, ECBM advised that desks and other filing cabinets can actually be significant stationary hazards. People may leave drawers open, and unwitting employees may walk into or trip over them. ECBM advised fitting all drawers with safety stops to prevent this from happening.
"Ensure that all walkways are clear."
2. Offer CPR and first aid training
Despite our best efforts to keep a space hazard free, sometimes accidents just happen. It's important, therefore, that at least a couple of staff members on sight are first aid and CPR trained. HR departments are advised to offer complimentary training for both, ECBM stated. It is a wise investment that could potentially save lives in the long run.
3. Develop a crisis plan
Although it is unthinkable, there is always a small risk of a big disaster or crisis striking an office: Think fires, active shooters, and, in certain parts of the country at least, natural disasters such as tornadoes and earthquakes. Consequently, it's imperative that an HR team develops a plan for each dangerous situation, Entrepreneur explained. The plan should consist of concrete protocols and action plans, and should be included, in print, in the company manual or guidebook.
4. Hold routine drills
Once security plans have been developed, routine practice drills must be held to ensure that all employees understand what to do, should a dangerous situation develop.