The Importance of great facilities in your workplace
As an employer you must protect the safety and health of everyone in your workplace. This includes people with disabilities. You must provide welfare facilities for your employees.
The duty of care that you have towards your employees includes the legal right to meet minimum standards for facilities in the workplace.
For your employees’ well-being you need to provide: toilets and hand basins, with soap and towels or a hand-dryer; drinking water; a place to store clothing (and somewhere to change if special clothing is worn for work); somewhere to rest and eat meals.
To have a healthy working environment, make sure there is: good ventilation – a supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system; a reasonable working temperature (usually at least 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work, unless other laws require lower temperatures); lighting suitable for the work being carried out; enough room space and suitable workstations and seating.
Natural elements have been show to have a beneficial effect on mood and emotion, greenery in the form of plants or perhaps a green wall and allowing as much natural daylight into the office as is practical.
A cause of headache and eye strain apart from poor lighting can be to do with working on screens. Your office layout doesn’t only need to look good, it needs to work for the benefit of your employees too. Poor screen positioning is a major factor contributing to back pain and eye strain. The General Application Regulations of 2007 require all employers to carry out a risk assessment of each VDU workstation.
The new generation of low energy lighting or LEDs will not just improve your lighting quality but save you money as well. LEDs emit a clear, bright, white light similar to the white fluorescent tubes found in many offices, but without the glare and vibration often associated with fluorescent tubes which has been shown to cause headaches in some individuals.
To keep your workplace safe you must: properly maintain your premises and work equipment; keep floors and traffic routes free from obstruction; have windows that can be opened and also cleaned safely; make sure that any transparent (eg glass) doors or walls are protected or made of safety material.
You must have first-aid arrangements in your workplace. aYou are responsible for making sure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Accidents and illness can happen at any time and first aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones.
Your arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace and you need to assess what your first-aid needs are.
As a minimum, you must have: a suitably stocked first-aid box; an appointed person to take charge of afirst-aid arrangements; information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements.
You might decide that you need a first-aider. This is someone who has been trained by an approved organisation and holds a qualification in first aid at work or emergency first aid at work.
Cleanliness is crucial and many companies will choose to bring in outside cleaning contractors to keep facilities up to scratch, whereas other business may have their own in-house cleaners.
You must supply appropriate waste containers and see that they are regularly emptied, and the same applies to the bulk waste from your business. Employ a registered waste contractor for responsible removal. By using a registered contractor you can be sure that all your waste will be disposed of securely and appropriately.
Employee surveys consistently show that the quality of the workplace has the most impact on the psyche, so it is well worthwhile making sure that your workplace is a safe and healthy place to be.