Thursday, March 13, 2008

7 Safety Tips for the Office That Keep Everyone Safe

In a day and age where you are almost jaded by the multicolored security alerts that are displayed on the television news every day, it is not surprising that safety notices posted at work are quite often also disregarded or not even read anymore. New hires are required to read a safety manual and sign on the dotted line that they read and understood all of the instructions given, but when push comes to shove, it is anyone's guess if they are not only willing but also able to follow the proper safety precautions and procedures. In addition to the foregoing, after a few months or even years, much of what was read in the early days of employment is forgotten.

As an employer who has to shoulder the insurance payments, it is not at all surprising that you might be wondering how to keep everyone safe at the office. After all, you do not want to waste valuable time with more safety meetings than are absolutely necessary, but at the same time you want to make sure that you have protected yourself against any claims of liability. To this end, here are 7 safety tips for the office that keep everyone safe:

1. Safety rules and procedures should be periodically reviewed. Once a year is a good rule of thumb. The odds are good that you will think of incidents that require mentioning. Upon revision of the safety rules, make sure a copy of the entire safety rules and regulations is handed out to every employee. Have the employees sign a notice that they received the book and that it is their responsibility to read it and follow all of the rules set forth in the book.

2. Have an office layout that makes sense. The coffeemaker should not be stored precariously above the copier or fax machine. Similarly, an aquarium or some plants that require watering should not be set within close proximity of any electric devices, such as computers.

3. Have emergency numbers, such as fire, police, ambulance, animal control, and the non-emergency number of the local police department taped below each phone on a laminated card.

4. Make sure you have safety equipment available. If you are operating a doctor's office where bodily fluids may expose employees to risk, or if you have an attorney's office where heavy boxes of evidence and files need to be lifted, specialized equipment that will prevent contamination or back injuries are required.

5. Prevent junk from piling up. This includes old and new phone books, boxes, and carts that may obstruct emergency exits.

6. Do not take short cuts with the electrical cords. Daisy chaining is a practice that is used to safe a buck, but in the end it may cost you a lot more than had you purchased one cord long enough to do the job.

7. Last but not least, perhaps the most important of the 7 safety tips for the office that keep everyone safe is surprisingly simple: have fire extinguishers available in strategic locations of your office.