Figuring out how to make your office and workplace safe requires a specific way of thinking. Not to be too macabre about it, but in essence you have to be able to picture the worst case scenarios in different places, with different people, different tools, and in different situations – and then imagine how these hypothetical accidents could have happened and what could have been done to prevent them. Luckily, there’s a large amount of knowledge out there to assist you in your quest for safety. It’s a not-so-pleasant responsibility, but as an employer you have to be prepared. Here’s how you can adequately control health and safety risks in your workplace.

Decide on who it concerns

It’s a tricky thing to do – actually, it concerns everyone. But there are specific people who stand a high chance of getting hurt, and you should focus on those first. When you consider those at risk, don’t think of specific persons but create classifications – don’t think in terms of “John, the operator of that machine, stands the highest risk”, but think in groups such as “people working at the machine, people working in the room, people passing by.” Each group will have different security requirements.

People to remember

In this case it will be necessary to go into specifics sometimes – each person is unique. Age, ability, intelligence, weight; these variables can make a big difference. Think with special attention about older people, pregnant people, immigrants with language or culture barriers, people with disabilities, and so on. In fact, never be afraid to ask them for their opinion on the matter; you should never fear insulting them – you’re thinking of everyone’s welfare. More often than not, your employees will appreciate the fact that you have asked for their input when it comes to such an important issue as safety. You should still think in groups: you’re creating procedures that apply to specific groups.


Some hints for materials and tools

When it comes to materials and tools, always consult the experts and base your guidelines on their advice. It’s only those with experience who can gauge, after all, as they’ve been in more situations and have had more learning opportunity. This cannot be stressed enough.

Regardless of how much the manager knows and might understand, it’s always important that experts are called to inspect everything before your workplace goes into operation. You may not know, for example, that John from the maintenance department may cause fire if he uses a particular cleaning product on a particular machine. Or you may not have considered that the glue in the other room can cause headaches. When it comes to health and safety procedures and developing them, always consult experts. Have your staff undergo the proper training as well, especially from the first aid professionals at