Health and safety at work is one of those things we’re all guilty of taking for granted, and for most it can sometimes seem like an inconvenience. However, in 2015/2016 over half a million injuries occurred in the workplace*, so it’s important to be aware of the simple ways to stay safe at work.
To celebrate World Day for Health and Safety at work we’ve come up with a few things to look out for.
It goes without saying that different jobs carry varying different levels of risk so you should always make sure that you talk to your employer if you have any specific safety questions or concerns.
Even in an office job, there are things you can do to make sure that you and your colleagues aren’t putting yourselves at unnecessary risk.
Test it out
Make sure all electrical appliances are PAT tested. In environments where electrical appliances are plugged in, it’s a requirement for offices in the UK to have them tested annually to make sure they aren’t a fire hazard. Once appliances have passed their PAT test they are labelled with a test date and an expiry date. If you notice any appliances in your office are out of date or that don’t seem to have been tested, flag it with your office manager or facilities team.
Know the plan
Pay attention to the fire procedure. It seems really simple but in an emergency if you don’t know how to get out of the building then you could be in real trouble. Make sure you know how to use the fire blankets and extinguishers within the office and where they are, and if there aren’t any then flag this with the relevant person in your office. The same goes for fire doors. Many people don’t know that fire doors need to be unlocked but closed at all times whilst there are people on the premises. Fire doors are heavier doors that are there to act to slow down the spread of fire and smoke in an emergency.
The silent killer
Make sure your office has a carbon monoxide alarm. You’d worry if there wasn’t a smoke alarm, and the same concern should be given to carbon monoxide. Smoke you can smell and see, carbon monoxide you can’t. It’s an odourless, invisible gas, so the only way you’ll know if there is a leak is if an alarm is fitted.
Keep it clean
Don’t add to the risk! If you spill anything on the floor clean it up, or do so to the best of your ability before alerting the relevant members of staff. Leaving bags and wires trailing on the floor is a recipe for disaster and trips and falls are an extremely easy way to do someone unintended damage. Just be mindful of your colleagues when you’re leaving things around your desk.
*Figures from the Health and Safety Executive