It’s easy to say workers want and expect to feel safe on the job, but what that actually means can be confusing and vary from person to person and office to office. Some might view safety as a concept applying primarily to on-the-job activities that require personal protective equipment or precautionary measures; others might view safety as being prepared for the next big snowstorm coming through (hopefully several months away).
Recently, our National Sales Manager for Safety, Bob Risk, sat down to clear up some of the mysteries around office safety, answering some common questions and offering expert advice.
When it comes to safety, what are the basics every office should have?
Regardless of industry, the basics are the same, even though the specifics may change based on where you’re located, what your building is like, etc. But here are the bare minimum items any office should have on hand:
- First Aid kit (minimums for these kits have been established by the American National Standards Institute, as well as the Occupational Health & Safety Administration)
- Portable light source like a crank light
- An attention-getting noise maker, like a whistle
If an office is already stocked with the basics and has trained first aid and CPR responders, is there anything else they can do to support and ensure workplace safety?
It’s nice to see workplaces that are ahead of the curve with trained responders, regular drills and all the basics. But every company, from the totally unprepared to those who are ahead of the curve, can benefit from one piece of advice: look at your company as an outsider would. Stand outside, look at your building, and ask yourself: what could possibly happen here? Evaluate the facility and everyone inside, taking into account things like leadership support and buy-in, communication plans, signage, everything that comes to mind from the front door to the loading dock, the lobby to the roof.
Is there any harm related to responsibility and legality when it comes to doing automated external defibrillator (AED) and CPR training in the office?
Your office is far smarter to start an AED and CPR program than not. Many companies with AED hardware in place have been called upon to use them, and cardiac arrest makes up a significant percentage of workplace fatalities.
While laws and regulations are expanding and changing on this topic and may vary from place to place, courts have begun to look beyond the written regulations and started to consider the employee’s or guest’s expectations for the level of care available at an office where they’re visiting or working. Beyond just the moral issues of having the appropriate equipment available, judgments have been made against companies deemed not to have had adequate emergency care readily available.
How can we avoid wasting First Aid supplies? Lots of times, the products expire before ever needed.
This one sentence really sums up safety and emergency preparedness in the workplace: It's much easier to prepare for an emergency then to have to explain why you didn't.
Unfortunately, that means there’s not necessarily a good answer to your question. When doing the right thing, like having preparedness products available on-site and ready to go, time will pass when you don’t need the product. That’s a good thing—none of us wants an injury or illness to occur on the job. But the unfortunate part is that it means the products’ shelf life may expire. You’re still far better off having it on-hand in case it’s needed.