The first step to creating a safe workplace is to understand that there will be many hazards we simply take for granted and therefore many preventative steps that we will avoid taking. The workplace will present numerous hazards and whilst a health and safety policy will be a necessary – and legal – step for any business to take, the most important way to fulfil that policy is to undertake a thorough work risk assessment.
There are many factors that can make an environment unsafe, and it will not just be working at heights or ignoring loose wiring that will be dangerous. Instead, everything from the way a workstation is laid out to the level of stress that staff members are placed under could cause physical or mental issues and lead not only to injury or illness, but in turn to wasted time and wasted money.
A workstation assessment will be as important as checking the office environment in general, and not only might it become clear that many workstations are arranged wrong, potentially leading to repetitive strain injuries (at best), but it may also be that a workstation assessment reveals that the lighting in certain areas is totally wrong, potentially leading to eye strain and headaches, and in some cases even worse potential problems.
A work risk assessment will usually be best when carried out by a third, disinterested party. By undertaking such an assessment yourself, you may well overlook key areas that you simply don’t see as hazards. Instead, using a qualified occupational health company is likely to help you make far more informed decisions about how to tackle the problem of health and safety at work. Each workplace and each specific group of employees will have very different needs and being able to structure your health and safety procedures precisely for your own needs will not only be more effective, but no doubt save you a huge amount of time and money in the long run too.