As an owner, you like to think you’re providing a safe environment for your employees to operate in and work from, but are you really doing everything you should be? Here’s a checklist of things you should use to ensure that your working environment is as safe as you can make it, and don’t worry, none of the items on this list are going to cost you an arm and a leg. These are all fairly straightforward items. Not terribly glamorous, but absolutely essential.

Comings And Goings

This subset includes the hallways, stair cases, and exits to your building. At a minimum, you want to ensure such things as:

* Exit doors need to swing in the direction of travel. They also need to have “panic hardware” attached, and these doors need to be in good working order so that they don’t stick or hesitate when a worker tries to use them. This is probably the most basic, but most pivotal thing you can do to help increase overall safety.

* All corridors, including those that don’t lead directly to exits, need to be clear of clutter and obstructions.

* People need to be able to move quickly and easily through the width and breadth of your building.

* Stair handrails need to be in place on both sides, and in good condition.

* If you have emergency lighting installed, it needs to be in good working order and tested at least twice a year.

Fire Safety

Of course, we hope you never have need of this, but if you do, you’ll be glad you checked these items.

* Fire Extinguishers need to be readily accessible and in working order. They need to be tested periodically to ensure this. Your staff need to understand how to use them – the local fire department are usually happy to give a demonstration.

* Hand in hand with the above, if you’ve got a smoke detection and/or sprinkler system for fire suppression, these need to be tested and inspected periodically to make sure they’re in working order as well.

* Emergency evacuation routes need to be posted, and everybody who works for you needs to be able to tell you where they are.

General Stuff

Sort of a catch all category here, but each is important in its way.

* Janitorial closets and other equipment rooms need to be neatly organized and free of clutter. Special care needs to be paid to the storage of flammable materials, and many cleaning supplies fall into this category, so don’t think you don’t have to worry about it if you’re not a chemical oriented company. You’ve probably got the equivalent of several pounds of explosives lurking in your closets.

* Floors, whether carpet or tile, need to be in good condition, with no loose tiles or carpet that’s coming up and bunching, causing tripping hazards.

* Indoor air quality should be checked periodically. Is the air free of odors and dust? Is there mold or mildew building up in corners you seldom venture into? If there is, then it could be the early signs of a serious problem.

There are, of course, many other things to be on the lookout for, but if you check all of the following off of your list, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring a safe and happy working environment for all.

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