Working in an office is often seen as a safe place to work and employers will often fail to understand the risks that office workers face. In reality though, there are a number of things within an office that have the potential to cause serious harm and personal injury and may leave an employer exposed to claims against them for their injuries.

If you employ people who work in an office environment, you should make sure that you fully review your office health and safety responsibilities, and meet these requirements in order to keep your employees safe and protect your business too.

Complying With Health And Safety Regulations

No knives and guns
Image by Ken Doerr
In order for your business to comply with health and safety regulations in an office, there are a number of things you will need to consider and implement and they are:

  • Policy – you need to have a written health and safety policy if you have five or more employees, and you will also need to display a health and safety poster too.
  • Risk assessments – these form a huge part of your health and safety responsibilities and risk assessments should be completed regularly to ensure that you can identify and deal with any potential hazards. It is important to remember that the risks are not just to your staff, but to anyone who enters your premises, whether they are staff, customers or members of the public.
  • Fire Regulations – you must make sure that you have appropriate fire policies in place for evacuating your premises, that there are functioning fire escapes that are easily accessible and that your fire alarms are working and are tested regularly.
  • Office Ambience – your staff should have enough room to work and the office must have good ventilation, and be a comfortable temperature all year round. The office should be kept clean and free from dust and the lighting must also be fit for purpose and not cause issues with reflection on computer screens.
  • Well Being – all staff need to have access to toilets, hand washing facilities and somewhere to eat their meals. They should also be able to access drinking water too. You must have a qualified first aider on site and first aid equipment too.
  • Work space – all electrical equipment must be checked regularly and you must make sure there is enough storage to keep all walkways free from any obstructions and that any cabling is tidy and not a trip hazard.
  • Visual Display Units – you must make sure that if your staff work on computers you carry out a work station assessment and that their desk and chair are all suitable and fit for use. If your staff need specialist equipment such as mouse mats or keyboards to keep them from getting any injuries you should ensure this is supplied as quickly as possible.

The things covered in this article are the main considerations for you, but health and safety law can feel like a minefield because it’s always changing so it is important to speak to a legal expert if you have any concerns.

If you would like more information about this article or any aspect of our employment law services, please call us on 0800 142 2775 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).