When you hear workplace health and safety, we don’t automatically think about the office. With the comfort of a desk and chair not being seen as dangerous as working on a construction site, it’s easy to overlook the importance of safety in the office. However there are regulations and processes that need to be followed to ensure your office is safe and employees are looked after.
We all know the basics of ensuring you have adequate lighting, heating and toilets in your facilities… But there are some aspects of office health and safety that are forgotten. Here are some of the most important you need to know.
The Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations 1992
The focus here is on employees who work in a role that requires prolonged use of screens or computers to complete their dailys tasks. Many people do not know that there is a requirement to ensure your workstation is safe. Things you need to look for in your risk assessment:
- Any defective equipment
- Having the correct support to maintain good posture
- A monitor at the correct height for your eyes
Employers should provide adjustable equipment such as ergonomic chairs to help you avoid posture related injuries. It’s also a requirement for them to offer free eye tests, health and safety information and glasses if required.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
Traditionally PPE was not commonly thought of as being required in the office, but with the pandemic screens and PPE became necessary. Employers have always had a duty of care to provide equipment needed for employees to complete their work safely, free of charge. It’s also required for the employee to receive instruction and training on how to use it properly.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
All equipment provided to employees must be kept in good working order and checked regularly. Ensuring desks are built correctly and are stable and having chairs with the correct mechanisms to ensure employees are supported correctly are both important when kitting out your office.
Equipment must also be maintained to ensure that it stays fit for purpose and no damage or wear and tear is putting employees in danger.
What about working from home?
While remote working and working from home is not new - it certainly gained momentum during the pandemic. However, employer responsibility doesn’t stop just because there’s no physical office space.
Home offices and equipment provided by the employer still need to meet the required standards and have sufficient checks. All workstations must be DSE compliant if employees are expected to work from home regularly or indefinitely.