The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 mandates business owners to ensure the health and safety of their employees, that their place of work is not hazardous to their health, and that their team is not exposed to anything that might cause them physical harm. This is why if you are a business owner or manager, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that your employees are returning to an office where they can breathe clean air, move freely, and work all day knowing that nothing in the office is hazardous to their health and safety. Now that you and your team might see a full-time return to the office thanks to vaccines, here are some health and safety maintenance checks you can do before welcoming your employees back.
Consider hiring plumbing professionals
It’s one thing to do general cleaning and dust-up, but you as a layperson may not necessarily have the tools to know there is mold growth, especially if your office has been left unoccupied in the last year. Consider enlisting the help of plumbing service professionals, those who can check for the following:
- Problems with your water heaters
- Water softeners
- Leaks in your water lines
- Standard plumbing issues
- Other repairs
Before your team returns, you want to ensure that all your sinks, restrooms, toilets, and others are working as they should, and employing experts will help you immediately address any issues you may have.
Do a general dust-up
Before doing a more thorough deep cleaning or sanitation process, make sure to do a general dust-up first. Sweep the floors, wipe down dust, and de-clutter the common areas. Avoid touching your employees’ stuff to help protect their privacy.
Do a thorough inspection
After making sure you do general cleaning and dust-up of the common areas, check the following:
- Make sure the signs and bulletin boards are organized, readable, and clean.
- Ensure that there are no items on the floor that can disrupt or trip people walking by.
- Check the floor for loose carpeting, material, or debris. Make sure the floors are not wet, slippery, or oily, lest you run the risk of you or your employees slipping.
- Check the stairs to ensure that no materials or items are blocking the way. Make sure they are well-lit so that people don’t need to fish out their flashlights just to see the steps. Check that the handholds and handrails are sturdy and properly in place and that the aisles are marked clearly and visible.
- Check all the equipment you use. Ensure that they are working as they should and that no employee will experience a problem on their first day at work.
- Take a gander at all the furniture pieces too. Some problems you need to look for are swivel chairs that need repair, sharp edges on cabinets and desks, poor office ergonomics, and overcrowding in the workstations and common areas. Take note of the pieces that need repair or replacement and have them fixed or changed before your team returns.
- Check your office’s emergency equipment, starting from your fire control. Are your fire extinguishers new and not yet expired? How about your fire and smoke alarms? Do the standard tests to ensure that they are working as they should. Check that your emergency lighting is properly in place in case of blackouts.
- Another thing you should take a thorough look at is your building’s structural integrity. Is it conforming to basic standards of occupancy and building services? You also need to look at the interior structures, including your swinging doors, stairways, ramps, ladders, guardrails, and wall openings. Check the walls for signs of leaks and other unsightly problems. Make sure that all your potentially hazardous materials and items are stored safely.
- If your office regularly handles potentially hazardous materials and products, make sure that everything is labeled and categorized properly. Keep an organized and updated datasheet of these materials, and make sure that you remind your team how to handle them safely and properly.
- Check that the security and fire exits are always open. Review your office’s emergency procedures for cases like a fire, bomb threats, active shooters, hostile persons, or any other instance that may warrant a quick evacuation.
- Ask your landlord if the electrical wires are updated and that inspected regularly.
- Check the HVAC systems to ensure that your indoor air quality is always up to par.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it comes with the territory of being a business owner or manager. Do yourself and your team a favor by making sure all of you are coming back to a safe and healthy office.