OHS is one of the great modern improvements to the workplace. In-house safety features make the workplace not only safe but more productive. Many of these features are a combination of simple ideas and common sense.
Safety basic principles
In order to be relevant to all workplaces, OHS works under the philosophy of managing basic problems using simple in-house safety features. The modern methodology is to create a safe workplace from the floor upwards.
Floor space and flooring
The floor is the most occupied space in any building. It is also the scene of nearly all accidents and often contributes to them. The floor in every workplace requires good safety management to prevent hazards.
Safety features include:
- Non-slip flooring solutions:Critical safety measures often include a combination of applying non-slip surfaces and adding various types of non-slip mats to strategic areas.
- Access management:Floor access areas, particularly entrances and exits, need to include surface management to ensure safety. It is important to ensure sufficient space for easy access in addition to non-slip floors.
- Floor surface protection: In high usage areas, floors of any kind, even carpets, are subject to severe wear and tear. This creates trip hazards and uneven surfaces. The best practice solution is to manage access with dedicated areas and safe surfacing materials.
- Ergonomic floors: Studies have shown that reducing “rebound” from hard surfaces improves staff health, prevents fatigue, and reduces the risk from fall injuries. New measures include everything from anti-fatigue matting at workstations to high density carpets which minimizes leg fatigue and reduce fall injury risks.
Site hazard prevention
Site hazards encompass a broad range of issues which depend on the nature of work being done. The common factors, however, are:
- Electrical safety: Basic procedures of electrical safety include cabling, equipment and work station location, managing electronic equipment peripherals, and regular safety checks for electrical faults. Best practice safety features include power surge protection, circuit breakers and a good OHS reporting system for faulty electrical equipment.
- Fire safety: The workplace should be well checked by safety professionals for any potential fire risk. Safety features include fire extinguishers, fireproof cabinets, sprinklers, and fire-resistant materials. Additionally, best practice fire safety features include good navigational aids clearly displayed for emergencies, clear exits and good fire drill practice.
- Hazardous materials storage facilities: Many materials in the workplace are potential safety hazards, including chemicals, flammable materials, workplace stores, paints, varnish and many more. Secure storage is essential, and should relate directly to both access needs and waste management.
- Waste management: Whatever type of waste the workplace generates is an OHS issue. Some types of waste are toxic; some are risky if they spill; and others may even cause allergic reactions. Waste materials are also considered potential fire hazards. Secure, sealed storage features are the best answer, combined with a safe, uncluttered waste management area.
As you can see, every aspect of workplace operations has its own safety issues. The right safety features are your workplace’s defence. If you’re looking at workplace safety, talk to an OHS expert and get an onsite inspection. It will be worthwhile.