Did you know the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime? With so much time spent at the workplace, employees need a work environment that doesn't compromise their health or safety, especially in a post-COVID world. Whether it's a worksite with heavy machinery or equipment or an office with desks and chairs, potential safety hazards can exist anywhere, which is why employee health and safety should be a top priority when designing your workspace. Here at Egyptian Workspace Partners, we're here to help you make sense of all the health and safety regulations, both federal and statewide, and walk you through the entire design process, step-by-step. In this article, we'll take a look at six ways you can design for employee health and safety in the workplace, as well as how your employees can benefit from a safe, productive work environment that puts their needs above everything else. 6 Ways to Design for Employee Health and Safety 1. Make Employee Health and Safety a Top Priority The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states office safety as an obligation and requires that all employers provide an office environment free from hazards. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to create a safe workplace for your employees to be highly engaged and productive. The first step is designing a well-laid office space with ample walkways. Lighting, for example, is also important. Poorly lit rooms or flickering bulbs can contribute to poor health and an increased risk of accidents, while a workspace with ample lighting can prevent eye strain and help people avoid trips or falls. In addition, employees must be able to evacuate the building safely and in plenty of time in case of a fire. Fire alarms and extinguishers should be placed in key areas, and fire exits need to be placed throughout the building with no obstructions. Anti-slip flooring materials, like hardwood or carpet, can help eliminate trip hazards, especially in very high traffic areas. Walk-off mats located at building entrances and stairwells can also eliminate slipping caused by wet shoes. Design Considerations Place fire extinguishers and fire alarms in areas storing flammable goods or combustibles and fire doors throughout the building so employees can evacuate safely Provide storage for modular furniture solutions, like stackable chairs and folding tables, so employees can avoid obstacles in the middle of important pathways Install modular glass walls and situate furniture to provide natural lighting and optimize the amount of lighting your office receives Select appropriate anti-slip flooring materials for high-traffic areas, especially stairwells, hallways and entrances 2. Use Digital Signage to Share Visual Safety Aids & Emergency Alerts Whether it's a natural disaster, active shooter situation or any other life-threatening scenario, it's absolutely critical to provide clear communication and simple directions to protect your employees, prevent them from panicking and make sure they get out safely.
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