Health and safety have had a bad rep over the years; the people who enforce it in the office often get accused of being petty or jobsworths and therefore people don’t always take it seriously. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have changed their mind and while they still may not understand why they can’t use a kettle that hasn’t been PAT tested, they might start paying more attention to other rules and guidelines to keep them safe. When you return to the office this year (hopefully), there are going to be more health and safety guidelines to comply with, and while this might seem excessive, all the rules and guidelines have their reason and purpose and it is for your health and your safety. If you want to know more about why certain health and safety procedures exist then read on to find out:
When working in an office environment it isn’t mandatory to wear a face mask unless you can’t keep a two-meter distance away from other people. However, there are many benefits to wearing a face covering but they are mainly intended to protect others from catching coronavirus rather than yourself and they are not a replacement for social distancing and hand washing. Masks may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets from coughs, sneezes, and speaking which can be picked up from surfaces.
Cleaning and tidying are always important when it comes to health and safety and as people are trying to keep their distance from each other, it’s even more important to make sure that there are no trailing wires or uneven floors that people could trip over. Try to limit the risk of even small accidents as this will limit the contact people need to have with each other. Then there’s the cleaning which will now have to be ramped up slightly to make sure that everywhere is rid of germs. Hire an industrial cleaning company to carry out regular deep cleans and encourage your staff to wipe down surfaces and equipment by putting antibacterial spray or wipes on their desks. Again, this isn’t something that should only be done because of COVID, but keeping your office as clean as possible will also avoid people catching other illnesses and having a visit from pest control.
Just as you should do outside of the office, while at work you should keep a two-meter distance away from other people. This might mean moving desks or having fewer people in the office and sitting at every other desk. You can also install perspex screens to give that extra security. This is also a way of stopping the droplets from reaching you.
This isn’t COVID related but that’s why it’s important to mention because other health and safety practices can’t be forgotten because of COVID. In any office, you should have at least one person who is responsible for fire safety, and it’s their job to identify any potential fire hazards in the workplace. These might have changed since the pandemic, so it’s worth having an extra look once you are back in the office to make sure that everything complies with fire safety as well as COVID safety.