Does your office or work place have any of the following issues?

A lot of people think health and safety is for someone else and not for them. This is even more apparent when staff work in an office as part of a bigger complex. People seem to think that all of the major risks are in “the factory” and health and safety doesn’t apply to offices.

So when your next in the office have a look around and see if any of the items listed below are in your office.

  • Doors propped open with a fire extinguisher
  • Cables trailing across the walk ways or under desks which are constantly being run over by chairs or walked over.
  • Boxes of items stored on top shelf of cabinets or in walkways.
  • Lights that flicker on and off
  • Telephones constantly ringing and supervisors continually pushing you to hit targets.
  • Broken chairs / desks, lighting
  • Worn carpets or uneven floors
  • Broken or cracked electrical sockets.
  • Wet floors,
  • Noisy environment where you can only here if your talk loudly or shout.
  • Cold working area below 16 degrees centigrade

All or some of the items that are present in your office could mean that your company is in breach of 1 or more health and safety regulations.

Typically the The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 cover a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues and apply to most workplaces (with the exception of those workplaces involving construction work on construction sites, those in or on a ship, or those below ground at a mine).

All employers have a general duty to provide a safe, healthy working environment. This means areas such as ventilation, heating, lighting, sanitary provisions should all meet minimum standards. Indg 244 available on the HSE Website gives more details.

Room dimensions and space Workrooms should have enough free space to allow people to move about with ease. The volume of the room when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it, should be at least 11 cubic metres. All or part of a room over 3.0 m high should be counted as 3.0 m high. 11 cubic metres per person is a minimum and may be insufficient depending on the layout, contents and the nature of the work.

Facilities for rest and to eat meals Suitable and sufficient, readily accessible rest facilities should be provided. Seats should be provided for workers to use during breaks. These should be in a place where personal protective equipment need not be worn. Rest areas or rooms should be large enough and have sufficient seats with backrests and tables for the number of workers likely to use them at any one time, including suitable access and seating which is adequate for the number of disabled people at work. Where workers regularly eat meals at work, suitable and sufficient facilities should be provided for the purpose. Such facilities should also be provided where food would otherwise be likely to be contaminated. Work areas can be counted as rest areas and as eating facilities, provided they are adequately clean and there is a suitable surface on which to place food. Where provided, eating facilities should include a facility for preparing or obtaining a hot drink. Where hot food cannot be obtained in or reasonably near to the workplace, workers may need to be provided with a means for heating their own food (eg microwave oven). Canteens or restaurants may be used as rest facilities provided there is no obligation to purchase food. Suitable rest facilities should be provided for pregnant women and nursing mothers. They should be near to sanitary facilities and, where necessary, include the facility to lie down.

Cleanliness and waste materials Every workplace and the furniture, furnishings and fittings should be kept clean and it should be possible to keep the surfaces of floors, walls and ceilings clean. Cleaning and the removal of waste should be carried out as necessary by an effective method. Waste should be stored in suitable receptacles.

Temperatures in indoor workplaces Environmental factors (such as humidity and sources of heat in the workplace) combine with personal factors (such as the clothing a worker is wearing and how physically demanding their work is) to influence what is called someone’s ‘thermal comfort’. Individual personal preference makes it difficult to specify a thermal environment which satisfies everyone. For workplaces where the activity is mainly sedentary, for example offices, the temperature should normally be at least 16 °C. If work involves physical effort it should be at least 13 °C (unless other laws require lower temperatures).

Call to action,

For help with your health and safety arrangements call Andy on 01889 881887 or 07900 558547. Email andy@qscconsultancy.co.uk or link up with us. We are here to help your business comply with your legal obligations.