- 25th Apr 2023
Designing an Office: Employee Health & Safety Considerations
As an employer, you have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of your staff while they are in the workplace. This covers a wide variety of responsibilities including (but not limited to) limiting risks and hazards in the office, providing manual handling training for anyone who needs to move heavy items in the workplace, ensuring a fire evacuation process is in place, making sure staff have suitable furniture and equipment to do their job in comfort, and more.
Many of these issues can be resolved with the right office interior design. Professional space planners like the team at Westcountry Group can provide your employees with a work environment that minimises risk and promotes good health and safety practises on a day-to-day basis. In this article, we will look at some of the design elements you can incorporate into a commercial refurbishment of you office to ensure the health and safety of your staff.
Prioritise Employee Health and Safety
A safe and healthy team is a productive team, so getting the fundamentals right is absolutely essential. Some key things to consider in your commercial refurbishment that will minimise risk are an office layout that is easy to navigate with plenty of space around and between desks. Make sure that all corridors and stairwells are wide enough for staff to travel in both directions to avoid bottlenecks.
Lighting should be a high priority too. Bigger windows let in more natural light, which is always preferable, but make sure that everywhere has the sufficient artificial light for use after dark or in an emergency. Not only will this be less detrimental to employee eyesight, it will also reduce the risk of tripping and slipping.
A Firm Footing
Speaking of trips and slips, while a sleek marble or polished wooden floor might look stylish, does it increase the chance of slipping for your employees? Consider anti-slip flooring solutions that are just as appealing, such as a high-quality carpet (or carpet tiles) or non-slip vinyl or parquet flooring. Whichever you choose, having them installed by trained professionals will also limit the number of trip hazards.
Should a fire break out in your office, it’s important that your team knows how to exit the building and where to assemble for a headcount. Any evacuation route should be clear of obstructions and allow the flow of employees from multiple rooms without the chance of a build-up of foot-traffic. Emergency lighting should be fitted along the route so staff can leave easily in the event of a blackout, while clearly visible signage and displays should indicate the route.
Toilets and Washroom
Most employees use a work toilet 3-4 times a day and it’s important that these areas are designed to offer comfort, hygiene, and privacy for all staff when they need it most.
Including wider cubicles and assist rails in your design offers greater accessibility for employees with visible and non-visible disabilities, creating a more inclusive environment.
For added hygiene, touchless toilet flushes, taps, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and hand dryers are all essential pieces of equipment.
No employee can remain 100% productive when sat at their desk for the entirety of their shift. Breakout areas should be commonplace throughout the office, where any member of staff can take a short break from their computer every now and then to help reduce stress levels and recharge themselves for the next task or call.
If your office could benefit from a commercial refurbishment to better meet your employee’s health and safety requirements, contact Westcountry Group today on 0330 030 0330. You will be able to speak with one of our experienced space planners to discuss your needs and receive a free, no-obligation quote for our services.