World Day for Safety: Prioritising Staff Safety
As World Day for Safety and Health at Work approaches, prioritising employee health in the office has never been more important post-pandemic. As we swap the sofa for the Monday Morning commute, many workers are apprehensive to return to a shared social space.
This year, World Day for Safety and Health aims to spread awareness about the Post-Covid office environment. Using their platform to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases, the annual awareness day, founded by the International Labour Organization (ILO), seeks to make staff feel safe during their return to work.
Studies have shown that an estimated 2.3 million deaths are caused globally each year by both workplace accidents and unsanitary office environments. From fire safety to ergonomic injuries, the workplace can pose as a hazardous environment when not protected efficiently.
Although both construction and manufacturing still pose the largest health and safety risk to workers, we are set to see a rise in Covid-19 related health hazards as the corporate world begins to return to the office. With large changes ahead and pandemic panic forcing offices to adopt stricter health regulations, we have put together a guide on how you can prioritise staff safety in a post-pandemic workplace.
How Can You Prioritise Staff Safety In The Office?
In a study by Staples Business Resource Centre, 86% of corporate office workers reported having experienced either soreness or strain as a result of their office furniture. With a large cut of office dwellers spending more than 6-8 hours seated at a desk each day, ergonomic strain injuries are not uncommon. From posture to repetitive strain, ergonomic safety is imperative in order to maintain a fit and healthy workforce.
A great way to combat this is to introduce ergonomic work aids into the office. Prioritise staff safety by investing in adjustable office chairs, desks and keyboards that can be adapted to accommodate all employees and working styles.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), investing in work aids is only the first step towards creating a successful working environment. To improve staff wellbeing long term, introduce safety workshops to help educate colleagues on how to set up a healthy workstation and perform computer-based tasks while still prioritising their physical wellbeing.
With 75% of adults suffering from some form of vision impairment, eyestrain is posing as a common workplace-related health issue for both remote and in-office workers, eye strain from screen glare can cause headaches, blurred vision and reduced productivity. According to the Mayo Clinic, workers who spend multiple hours of the day at the computer are most likely to be prone to the condition. When staff focus on a screen for large periods of time, eyes can become dry and fatigued in response to the blue light glare emitted.
To reduce eyestrain amongst employees, office spaces should reduce excessive glare by dimming lights and closing blinds to aid screen work. Investing in glare-resistant monitors and increasing font size can also improve eye health amongst staff.
For newly remote companies, encourage workers to invest in blue light resistant glasses for heavy screen related work. Blue light glasses effectively reduce glare and reduce the onset of headaches and computer-related fatigue, therefore aiding productivity and content-heavy workdays.
To actively promote staff wellbeing, OSHA states that regular screen breaks are the most important cure for computer-related health hazards. Adopting the 20-20-20 rule where screen users are encouraged to look 20 feet away from their screen for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes can vastly improve eye health while working from home.
Prioritising Staff Safety During Covid-19
In a post-pandemic workplace, prioritising staff safety during the return to the office is a new essential for the HR team.
To effectively reduce the spread of Covid-19 in a corporate environment, employers should introduce social distancing rules, sanitation stations and provide lateral flow testing kits for all staff members.
According to CIPD, education has also never been more important. On returning to the office, workers should be briefed on Covid-19 precautions and reminded of both distancing and hygiene regulations in order to protect both their colleagues and themselves.
In a recent study, it was reported that only 55% of corporate workers said they’ve been given adequate information about returning to work. Those who were briefed beforehand found that they had less anxiety upon their return to the office and felt safer in the workplace.
As the corporate landscape continues to adopt new strategies to combat workplace health hazards, Covid-19 is guaranteed to transform health and safety regulations for the future. Whether you’re the employer or the employee, prioritising both your mental and physical wellbeing is the key to a happier and healthier working future.