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OFFICE AND EMPLOYEE SAFETY IS AN ONGOING ENDEAVOR

The health of staff is of paramount priority for any company or enterprise, so it is important to ensure that the workforce is provided help when needed. Make sure your company has a HR department prepared for dealing with issues surrounding the mental health and overall wellbeing of staff to promote a healthy working culture.

It is easy to believe that money spent and equipment installed for purposes of safety and security at the time of construction, or the time of commencement of any business enterprise is a done and dusted thing. It isn’t.

By law, all businesses must conduct risk assessments where there are potential hazards within the workplace. And this has to be done periodically. However, setting priorities and abiding by them is a challenge. Often, risk assessments can guide the management in finding long-term solutions to issues that pose maximum risk to staff health, such as awareness of exigency and fire safety, first aid and hands down usage of safety tools such as fire extinguishers and the like.

Intelligent lighting at workstations and around the work building or work site is essential for employee safety. Suitable forms of lighting must be used for different manual tasks, such as florescent lighting where natural light cannot reach. Then there is the emergency lighting firewall which must be installed in case there is a power failure or a fire risk or similar sudden unexpected mishaps.

Having installed all the stuff- fire alarms, sprinkler systems, extinguishers, lights, exigency related signs, pathfinding tools etc. it becomes important to keep all of them oiled, greased and ready to fire at any given time. This is easier said than done. Ignorance, procrastination or sheer laziness are all failings very easy to succumb to. Especially when months turn to years and senses dull and the mind begins to wander away.

In theory, maintenance appears not too difficult or expensive but in practical terms it is very, very difficult to maintain consistency over long periods of time. “If fire has not struck in 10 years, why will it happen now?” Famous last words for sure.

A fire risk assessment will identify fire hazards and the people at risk. An induction and evacuation process must be conducted with each employee as he or she enters the premises. There should also be a member of staff, or maybe two who would be responsible for rapidly evacuating the building or area in the case of a fire, taking a register of those present and calling for help using all available communication tools.

Manual jobs often involve lifting and using machinery and ladders, so it’s important to have safety procedures to follow thoroughly. Ensure that equipment is safely used and properly put away in a safe place by using the Lockout Tagout system or combination padlocks to prevent unauthorized access to specialist equipment.

Electrical equipment should be properly installed and tested alongside a full electrical risk assessment. For electrical machinery, a switch or isolator should be located near each machine to cut off the power supply in an emergency. If you come across any faulty cables or plug sockets in your workspace, they should be covered and marked as ‘do not use’ and replaced on priority.