Prime Advantage has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, John Stuart of Creare Marketing discusses how to maintain workplace safety in the modern business world.
Whether we’re talking about a small business that’s just starting up or a larger firm with dozens of employees, office safety is essential in any workplace. Hazards and risks are rare but not unavoidable. As a result, it’s the employer’s responsibility to create a safe and secure place for employees. The office does not only accommodate employees, it also houses valuable contracts, sensitive agreements and expensive equipment. All of this has to be kept safe around the clock. To come to your help, we’ve compiled a list of the most important safety features a modern workplace should have.
One of the most important additions employers can make to the workplace in order to make it safer is to purchase insurance. Regardless of the industry, the office should be covered by a suitable insurance policy that protects the owner from unexpected events.
These events range widely and can be anything from a client slipping and falling down the stairs to any damage that can occur to the building. Most types of insurances also cover breakages. The biggest benefit of insuring the workplace is protecting your finances and keeping severe damage at bay. This also protects employees from salary cuts or even being laid off.
2. Ventilation Systems
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are essential for improving the quality of the air and making sure that each room has a comfortable temperature. A good ventilation system will control impurities by expelling the moisture, pollutants, odors and bacteria that build up within a building.
At the same time, ventilation systems prevent mold from developing by eliminating condensation. Dampness is not only damaging to the building and furniture pieces but also to people and can cause respiratory issues and allergies. Any modern workplace should have a reliable ventilation system in place that fends off headaches, asthma, sinusitis, allergies and rashes.
3. Surveillance Cameras
Offices are common targets for intruders who are looking to steal equipment or money. While preventing break ins is almost impossible, installing surveillance cameras both outdoors and indoors acts as a deterrent for thieves who will think twice before breaking in the office. CCTVs help employees feel more secure and safe.
Studies have shown that surveillance cameras prevent crimes by intimidating potential burglars and discouraging them from doing anything illegal. Security camera systems are versatile and can be installed virtually anywhere. Taking your needs and preferences into consideration, you can purchase small cameras that can be hidden from sight or larger ones that require mounting. Either of these will provide you with video and audio evidence and can record everything 24/7, requiring minimum maintenance.
4. Access Control Systems
Another easy and affordable way to keep employees safe is to install an access control system for the entrance to the workplace. This provides full control over the people who enter the building or the office. There are a few different kinds of access control systems to choose from. Employees can use a code to gain access or they can call through the intercom and have someone else buzz them in. This is generally the receptionist’s job. Access control systems with intercoms usually comprise a camera so the secretary can see who is at the door.
Installing an access control system instead of giving a physical key to every employee is convenient and safe, especially when an employee quits or is laid off. The company doesn’t have to change all the locks but simply delete the access card of a specific employee. In the same vein, employees who lose their card are easily issued a new one.
5. Fire Evacuation Plan
Fire evacuation plans are essential for all buildings but especially for workplaces. Even if a company has dozens of fire prevention measures in place, it should also implement a fire evacuation plan to ensure the safety of its employees. The fire escape routes in the office must be marked clearly. The safest method to protect employees in the event of a fire is to evacuate everyone to a pre-established area far away from the workplace.
Besides instructing all employees how to behave and what to do in the event of an emergency, companies must also appoint at least a couple fire marshals. These are usually confident employees that have been trained and know how to act if a fire occurs. Fire marshals keep their calm in any situation and help get all the employees safely out of the workspace, preventing the fire from spreading. Evacuation drills are mandatory and should be carried out on a regular basis. They prepare the employees for the event of an emergency and also uncover faulty evacuation plans or routes.
6. Emergency Communications System
Offices situated in areas with a high risk of natural disasters can only benefit from having an emergency communications system in place. This type of system will alert the employees of a fire emergency, weather emergency (tornadoes, hurricanes or floods) and terrorist attacks. The alert can be a desktop notification, an email, a text or voice message. The ability to send and receive instant emergency alerts often saves lives in the workplace.
An emergency notification system does not only inform employees about issues as soon as they happen, they will also alert first responders. This type of safety measure offers peace of mind and can be customized to suit the needs and preferences of the company. For instance, not all employees have to be alerted, the system can notify a single team member or leader.
7. Smoke Curtains
When a fire breaks out, it is not the only threat to people’s lives. Smoke inhalation often claims more lives than fire because it has the ability to spread faster. This is where smoke curtains come in. They isolate the flame and also keep the smoke from spreading. Smoke curtains protect both the employees and the building itself. They were designed to keep the flow of smoke from moving freely around the building.
Smoke curtains come in a wide array of sizes and shapes. When not in use, they can be tucked away in the wall or the ceiling, thus becoming almost invisible. Since they don’t take up a lot of space, smoke curtains won’t affect the aesthetics of the workplace. The curtains are automatically activated when they receive a signal from the smoke detector. They are a great innovation that boosts safety in the workplace and gives employees peace of mind.