How to prevent accidents in modern offices?
Occupational safety is often overlooked in office positions. Yes, most of the time no one carries heavy loads or is exposed to direct sunlight or dangerous chemicals. But that doesn't mean we should take office safety lightly. For example, even a little spilled water on a slippery surface can quickly result in broken limbs. Moreover, a dangerous situation in the office can have negative effects on the health of employees lasting months or even years, for example due to poor workplace ergonomics. So, let's have a look at some important aspects of a safe office.
Protection against falls and impacts
How to ease the fall?
Falls and various stumbles are among the most common types of accidents that office workers encounter. The frequency and health consequences of falls can be significantly reduced by laying carpets on the floors. They should be placed in areas where the floor is liable to get wet, for example near reception, where people enter directly from outside. Stairs and various transitions must be marked with reflective elements. Glass walls and doors should not be invisible but again be marked with reflective elements.
Mess in the office
Like at confusing road intersections, convex mirrors can be installed in offices to cover blind spots and prevent the collision of two inattentive employees. However, the biggest problem in terms of falls is clutter on the floor, for example packages of office supplies. Therefore, the office should have sufficient storage space to avoid obstacles on the floor.
The impact of a poorly designed workplace from the ergonomic point of view can negatively affect a person for the rest of their life. Problems with the back, neck, limbs or eyesight are still extremely common among office workers. One of the main ways to ergonomically adapt the workplace to all employees is to give them the ability to control their environment. Adjustable chairs, desks and monitors should be part of the basic equipment of every office. Too rigid furniture forces the body to stay in the same position and leads to pain.
If your office is fully equipped with flexible and ergonomically designed furniture, it is also worth training all employees in their exact use and recommended settings. Even the best furniture will fail if not used properly.
Lighting plays a major role in both the physical and mental health of employees. Lack of (especially natural) light can lead to a higher frequency of injuries, but also
to increased mental discomfort. Great attention must be paid to lighting in corridors and staircases where there is a risk of tripping or collision. Supplying natural light from the outside environment saves energy costs and helps employees maintain their natural circadian rhythms.
As with the ergonomic elements of the office, ideally everyone should have some freedom and the ability to adapt the lighting conditions in their workplace exactly
to their current needs. While the supply of natural light is important, this does not mean that monitors should be placed facing windows or that employees should not have a good shading system.
Fire drills tend to be an annoying duty for employees, but without them and a design that considers fire safety, tragedy can easily occur. Already during the design phase, the architect will lay out the corridors to allow quick access to the escape routes. It pays to invest in
a variety of sensors that monitor not only fire, but also the conditions that can lead to it (e.g. overheating of electronics).
All cables should be routed so that they cannot be tripped over and mechanically disturbed. The electricity distribution must correspond to the real needs of the office to avoid overloading the sockets.
Hygiene is a huge topic today and needs to be included among the main safety features of the office. We dealt with this topic more extensively in our previous article, but in short, the office certainly does not have to be an incubator for viral diseases. If the air exchange is set
up correctly and the work surfaces are disinfected regularly, then no virus will be present in the office for very long.
In terms of design, it is good to install elements that prevent surfaces from being touched by many people, such as contactless sinks or toilet paper dispensers.
CAPEXUS focuses not only on modern design and practicality, but also on the above-mentioned safety features. Do not hesitate to consult with us about your ideas of what your future offices will look like.
Photos authors: Petr Andrlík, Boys Play Nice, Peter Fabo, Alexander Dobrovodský, Unsplash
Published July 2, 2020