The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employers in the U.S. pay out nearly $1 billion each week in compensation for work injuries.
Safer workspaces are important for both employee well-being and the company budget. There’s never a better time to start thinking about safety than in the planning stages.
What are some key areas to pay attention to and how can you work with an architect for your office?
Pay Attention to Light and Noise
A well-lit office space is a must.
Good lighting minimizes the risk of trips and falls, and can also prevent problems such as eye strain.
Make the most of natural light with plenty of windows and an open plan space if appropriate, but be sure to build in plenty of good, clear lighting options too.
Excess noise can disturb employees, lowering concentration and increasing the risk of accidents, stress related conditions and hearing problems.
When designing your office, think about potential noise sources and whether you can minimize their impact, for example with individual cubicles for employees.
Think about Walkways and Storage
The natural passage around the office should be clear from the start, allowing employees easy access to everywhere they need to go. Walkways should be designed to be clear and accessible, making use of non-slip carpeting or tape where needed.
Think about storage ahead of time; you’re going to need to store supplies, at the very least.
Employees should be able to retrieve items without straining themselves or risking being hit by items stored up high.
Design Work Spaces for Minimum Strain
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, strains and sprains are the most common workplace injuries.
As well as designing your storage space to minimize heavy or awkward lifting, think about the work spaces. Employees will need to carry out their tasks without needing to stretch, strain, or sit in stressful positions.
Your choice of furniture is also key here.
Furniture needs to be ergonomic and easy to adjust, so each employee can find the most comfortable and natural set up for them.
Working with an Architect
Designing an office space is a big undertaking, providing the central hub of your operations for years to come.
So naturally, you want to work with the best.
Choose an architect who is registered to practice with the American Institute of Architects. The aia continuing education program means your architect will be up to speed when it comes to the latest developments and best practices.
Make sure you and your architect are on the same page before design begins.
The clearer you are about what you need and the importance of safety in your design, the more likely you are to receive a design that’s just right for you.
Make Safety Part of Your Plan
Office safety isn’t a one-time event.
When your office is up and running, review safety regularly. Keep an eye out for potential hazards and take steps to mitigate the risks before they turn into painful incidents.
Enhance ongoing office safety by involving employees and educating them about the importance of good posture, regular breaks, keeping walkways clear and so on.
Planning your office carefully will help keep your employees safe and prevent accidents, making for a more pleasant working environment and less stress all round.