Designing an Office with Health and Safety in Mind
The average office worker spends 40 hours per week in the workplace, so creating an environment that is comfortable and safe for everyone is essential. As the employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your workplace meets all necessary health and safety requirements, enabling staff to work in a hygienic, habitable space that is free from risks and hazards.
When designing your office interior, style and aesthetics is a big priority for many of our clients, but merging health and safety with these features is essential. We’ve compiled a few top things to bear in mind when designing your office to meet health and safety standards without compromising on style. In this article, we’ll be looking at:
Health and Safety Legislation: Your Responsibility as an Employer
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) specifies that 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’. The steps taken to guarantee this safety include providing systems of work that are free from health risks, training, proper storage of articles and substances, and reasonable maintenance of the workplace to ensure employees have access to the environment in a safe manner without risks to their health.
All workplaces are required to have a risk assessment carried out to identify and remove any fire or risk hazards found. A good starting point is to take a tour of the workplace, and record any hazards that you find – categorising these into high or low risk will also enable you to identify which areas should be tackled as a priority to make the workplace safer.
One area that needs to be considered when designing your workplace is the lighting. Poorly lit rooms, or flickering or blown bulbs can contribute to poor health, as well as increasing the risk of accidents occurring. Designing your office so that the major light source is natural lighting through windows can improve employee morale, and keep the space well-lit throughout the day.
It is essential that the necessary steps are taken to reduce fire hazards where possible in the workplace, and to provide adequate fire safety systems to allow all employees to evacuate the building safely and in plenty of time in the case of a fire.
You should ensure that fire doors are placed throughout the building with no obstructions, and provide the appropriate fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers where necessary. Kitchens, warehouses and locations storing flammable goods or combustibles are key areas to place extinguishers and fire alarms.
The layout of your office is one of the most important considerations to make in your design, with a direct impact on the productivity of your employees as well as the overall aesthetics of your workplace. To ensure your office layout is in accordance with health and safety regulations, make sure the flow of the office is unobstructed, and that every area has easy access to a fire door or escape route should employees need to evacuate.
To maintain a hygienic workplace, enough washrooms should be provided to meet the needs of the number of employees in the building. Bathrooms should be frequently cleaned to ensure they are free from bacteria, with hand washing facilities equipped with soap and a hand-dryer.
Other factors we like to remind our customers of here at Spectrum Interiors include maintaining a reasonable temperature in the office, providing facilities for drinking water and eating meals, and a good ventilation system that provides fresh, clean air throughout the day.
At Spectrum Interiors, we’re accustomed to helping our customers achieve a welcoming work environment in line with all health and safety requirements. Using only the highest quality materials, we can transform your office space with a range of fit-outs. For more information, or to discuss any health and safety concerns you may have, simply contact our team today and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.