7 safety features every modern workplace should have

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your workforce are kept as safe as is reasonable from any potential risks or hazards that might occur in the workplace. All employers, and even self-employed people, must carry out a risk assessment; and if you have five or more employees you must record the findings. The Health and Safety Executive website has more information on how and why you should carry out a risk assessment.

One of the main areas that will feature in your risk assessment is the building in which you and your employees carry out your work. Buildings haven’t always been constructed with features to keep us safe, so if your company resides in an older building it may pose a detrimental risk to your health and safety.

Here are several measures that you may want to take, and features that you may want to install in your workplace building in order to ensure a safe and secure working environment for employees and visitors…

Smoke curtains

In the event of a fire, one of the biggest killers is smoke inhalation. If the smoke spreads it can quickly cause more harm than the fire itself. Smoke curtains help to isolate the fire and contain the smoke in one area by descending around a room when a fire breaks out, thus trapping the smoke in that one area.

Ventilation systems

There are two types of ventilation systems that you might want to consider installing in your company building. A fire ventilation system is designed to remove smoke from escape routes, reduce the risk of fire developing further, and reduce the risk of structural damage to the building. For any building with multiple storeys, this system is a must.

A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system – aka HVAC – will help to improve the air quality within your building and ensure that each area within is kept at a comfortable temperature for your staff and visitors. Our intelligent ventilation systems improve the comfort levels within your workplace and mean that the heating and air con units don’t have to be run as often, which saves you money too.

Dry and wet risers

If a large fire breaks out it can be difficult for fire-fighters to tackle the flames head on. Dry and wet risers are designed to allow fire-fighters to deliver large amounts of water into a building without having to enter it. The dry riser is a system of pipes which water is pumped into by the fire-fighters; from there this water is distributed around the building. A wet riser, on the other hand, is a system of pipes that already contain water. When a fire breaks out the water is then distributed throughout the building.

A fire evacuation plan

Hopefully, you’ve got plenty of measures in place to prevent a fire from happening in the first place, but it’s still important to have a well thought out evacuation plan in place. Ensure that you have several clearly marked fire escape routes, and set a meeting point outside and away from the building.

You should also appoint several fire marshals and ensure that they are trained and confident in knowing what to do if a fire occurs, i.e. get everyone out of the building safely without the fire spreading further. Regular evacuation drills will help you to identify any areas of your evacuation plan that might need to be rethought out or altered.

Designated first-aiders

As an employer it is your responsibility to take the necessary measures to minimise the risks to the health and safety of your employees in their day to day jobs on site. However, some risks can’t be eliminated 100%, and things like trips and falls can still occur. If this does happen then an on-site first aider can be a lifesaver.

Personal protective equipment

If you’re asking your employees to carry out tasks that may cause them harm then it is your responsibility to provide the necessary equipment to keep them as safe as possible. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is everything from hazmat suits and goggles, to overalls and helmets. It’s vital that your PPE is regularly inspected and replaced to ensure that it is capable of doing its intended job and protecting your employees from potential danger.

A secure entry system

When your employees come to work it is not unreasonable for them to expect that they will be kept safe for the duration of their shift. If you’ve followed the tips above then you’re already doing everything that you can to protect them from fire hazards, slips, and falls etc. But have you done anything to protect them from external threats? Although this isn’t America and we don’t have a problem with gun crime, that doesn’t mean you should just let anybody wander into your office building. A secure entry system using fobs or ID cards can help you to control who is authorised to enter your premises and keep intruders out. It can also help you to identify if any members of staff or visitors are left inside the building in the event of an evacuation.

Author: Gareth Whalley
Sharing my vast knowledge in the Air Conditioning and Mechanical services field especially in HVAC installation, service and maintenance across a broad range of sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Transport, Banking, Retail and Commercial developments.