With an average person spending so much time at the workplace, safety in the workplace is one of the greatest issues for every organization. Accidents can occur due to various factors like a wet floor, slick stairwell, disorganized workspace, and more. Creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace prevents injuries and accidents. The extent of your health and safety workplace program will depend on the size of your organization and the dangers present in your specific workplace. You can establish a strategy for yourself and staff by inspecting your workplace, training your personnel, investigating accidents, maintaining records, and keeping an open line of communication.
In this post, we will explore five strategies when designing for employee well-being and safety in the workplace.
1. Share safety aids and emergency alerts through digital signage
Whether it's a natural disaster or any other potentially life-threatening circumstance, it's vital to provide clear communication and easy instructions to safeguard your employees, keep them calm, and ensure they get out safely.
In an emergency, digital signs can save lives. Digital displays, instead of static posters, can instantaneously warn or notify people of a crisis in real-time, even in regions where mobile phones and other electronic devices are not permitted.
Dramatic, easy-to-read digital text alerts can aid in disseminating emergency messages in a simple, digestible way. This is especially crucial for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or do not speak a native language.
You can also utilize digital signage to convey workplace safety information, honor employees who have displayed exceptional safety awareness, and share updated laws and regulations.
Considerations for Design
Install a digital signage system with a secure platform and various connectivity choices to transmit emergency notifications everywhere.
Create digital displays that visually transmit real-time safety processes, protocols, and other emergency information.
Employ interactive wayfinding to display emergency evacuation routes so that employees and other occupants can safely evacuate the premises.
2. Prepare a First-Aid Kit and a Medical Response Strategy
When workplace accidents occur, there is no more critical equipment than a first-aid package. To safeguard yourself, staff, and clients, it is essential to prepare a reliable first aid kit, regardless of the industry in which you work.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) mandates that all workers at small workplaces, including offices, have ready access to a well-stocked first aid kit. However, more than one kit is typically required for workplaces with at least four employees.
Gauze pads, band-aids, gauze roller bandages, triangle bandages, wound cleaning materials, scissors, tweezers, adhesive tape, latex gloves, resuscitation tools, two elastic wraps, a splint, and a blanket should be included in every first aid kit.
It is also highly recommended to have double the amount of supplies in two separate (and easily accessible) locations. A selected individual should check once a month to see whether any supplies need to be replaced or refilled.
Implementing a medical plan for emergencies should also be a high focus. All office workers should receive training on location of first aid equipment and how to properly assess and respond to medical emergencies.
Considerations for Design
Construct or purchase a pre-stocked first aid kit with all DOLE-required goods and other supplies appropriate to your business.
3. Improve Air Quality
People spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors and nine hours a day sharing space with others. Unfortunately, indoor public areas such as schools and businesses are breeding grounds for airborne viruses, allergies, toxins, and odors.
Business leaders should build commercial-grade air filtration systems to clean, purify, and revitalize their indoor air in the workplace during a pandemic. Additionally, air purifiers combat airborne viruses, bacteria, gasses, mold, and fungi. Removal of 99.97 percent of dangerous microorganisms, allergens, and particles from the air can help individuals breathe easier.
Moreover, office spaces with extremely hot or extremely low temperatures and high CO2 levels can hamper work and cause fatigue and headaches. This is where intelligent HVAC systems come into play that can optimize ventilation flow rates to match office space needs.
4. Pay Attention to the Emerging Biophilia Trend
With the emphasis on boosting employees' workplace experience and well-being, biophilia is a trend that will likely continue beyond 2022. Biophilia is more than just adding a few plants to the office; it focuses on incorporating natural aspects, such as plants, light, and natural materials, into the design.
Wellness in the workplace is a driving force behind biophilic design's emergence, fueled by a growing interest in creating healthy living environments. In addition, indoor plants are proven to improve air quality by filtering air, removing contaminants, and combating dry air created by air conditioning.
Furthermore, 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. According to studies, natural lighting is one of the most effective methods to improve employee wellness. Sunlight has direct health advantages; it is the primary source of vitamin D. The presence of natural light boosts mood and focus.
Incorporating biophilia into living walls and room dividers offers additional practical and space-enhancing benefits. Wall screens with integrated vegetation give flexible means of separating private zones in an open-plan office environment and reduce noise.
5. Maintaining Healthy Workspaces
Fortunately, there are many things you can implement for a safe environment for ahighly engaged and productive employees. Designing an office space with ample pathways is the initial stage.
The WELL Health Safety Ratings is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing office spaces and buildings and focuses on operational policies, maintenance protocols, safety procedures, and stakeholder engagement strategies to facilitate your employees' safe return to the workplace.
To enhance the long-term health and safety of their employees, businesses should secure or implement a rating system by end 2022.
The rating focuses on these 4 key areas:
Adoption of policies and procedures to facilitate a healthy and safe workplace or facility
Implementation of facilities management and maintenance protocols designed to reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission
Development of emergency plans and protocols that, when applied, help to safeguard building users
Regular communications, education, and signage that capture important updates, activities, and information
Why Is It Essential to Design for Employee Safety and Health?
When you overlook workplace safety in the design process, you put your employees at risk of developing chronic injuries or diseases. These elements pose a long-term threat to their livelihood and quality of life. When organizations design for employee safety, they demonstrate compassion for their people.
Safe and healthy employees are less inclined to take time off or leave to seek work elsewhere. They will be happier, more productive, and motivated to produce new ideas that fuel the growth and innovation of the organization.
The WELL Health-Safety seal signifies your visible commitment to supporting the health of individuals in your space. JCVA can assist with aspects of WELL Health Safety rating, particularly air and water quality, risk management plans, and verification of innovative safety practices. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.jcvassociates.ph to know more about our consultancy offerings.