Many startups kick off their lives in the humblest of surroundings. A home office, a garden shed, a bedroom - perhaps even a local coffee shop. However, at some point, startups outgrow themselves, and the need for owners to consider hiring staff and finding a larger workspace somewhere becomes a necessity.
The trouble is, there is a big difference between working in your home alone, and being an employer in a busy office. And one of the necessary things many startup owners need to think about is safety. In today’s guide, I’m going to go through some of the things you need to consider when planning for workplace safety, to ensure you avoid a serious accident occurring in your offices.
You can afford to work in a messy environment at home. Although it is far from productive or conducive to creative thinking, a messy home office is never much of a health and safety issue when you are working alone. But the second you start hiring others and renting office space, it’s critical. Most accidents in the workplace are caused by untidiness, so ensure you clean up your bad habits and expect your team to work in a clean and tidy environment, too.
If many of your workers are tied to their desks all day, it is essential that you invest in comfortable furniture for everyone. A healthy employee is a more productive worker, takes fewer days off sick, and will suffer fewer incidents of repetitive strain injury.
Make sure all fire hazards are logged and made secure. Ensure you have the relevant safety equipment in place, too, including extinguishers, blankets, lighting and sprinklers systems. Get in touch with local fire protection services, and also run regular alarm tests and drills.
Entrances and exits
By law, all of your workers must be able to enter and leave your workplace in a safe manner - including anyone with special needs or disabilities. Don’t forget to use the appropriate signage, and keep gangways and corridors clear to ensure people can leave quickly and calmly in the event of a situation.
Ensure that your workers have light levels appropriate to the work they are doing. All areas should be well lit, either by lighting systems or natural light, and you also have to make sure there is emergency lighting in place. Don’t underestimate the importance of illumination for your business. If workers are struggling to see properly, they might end up with eye strain, and if it is deemed your fault, it could result in a substantial compensation claim.
Finally, if you are starting to expand your business, it can be tempting to hire people that can contribute to your progress. However, given that you will be employing people, perhaps it is worth hiring or outsourcing to an HR professional. They will help you ensure that your business is ticking all the relevant health and safety boxes, protect your business interests, and ward off any threat of compensation claims or litigation.