Sample office safety programs will increase workplace safety and keep your employees safe while they're on the job. Great programs can be purchased online from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety Training Net or found by contacting a local OSHA chapter.
About Sample Office Safety Programs
Sample programs are just that -- samples. They are very helpful in planning the perfect workplace safety plan for an office, but you do need to take the time to personalize it. Each office will have different individuals working, a different building layout and thus different specific needs.
OSHA offers certification courses you may want to look into, if you're trying to get a great office safety program together. You can go online or talk to your local OSHA chapter for registration information. Some of these courses include:
- Developing Your Workplace Injury & Illness Prevention Plan
- Hazard Identification & Control
- Organizing Your Workplace Emergency Action Plan
- Workplace Safety Committees
This is just a starting point. OSHA offers dozens of courses tailored to specific industries and can discuss OSHA training requirement guidelines with you. The courses above are great basics and especially well-suited to an office environment. You can also look into free workplace safety videos.
A good rule of thumb is not to rely on any one example program if you want a comprehensive plan for your office. Below are examples of what different parts of sample office safety programs look like. However, sample programs should never substitute for OSHA or other safety organization training courses and guidelines.
How to Use These Examples
These examples can give you a good idea of the work involved in creating an office safety plan. You can begin to consider how your office plan will compare to these typical plans. The best way to get started is to make notes as you read along so that if you come up with a question or concern you can remember to ask your local safety organization about it.
Getting Started: Establishing A Plan
OSHA reports that there are seven essential components of a great workplace safety plan:
- Management commitment
- Labor and management accountability
- Employee involvement
- Hazard identification and control
- Accident investigation
- Employee training
- Plan evaluation (both when written and periodically there after)
Your plan should be in writing and consist of all these components.
Tips for successful plan establishment include:
- Look at the above components and decide how each relates to your specific workplace.
- Plan how the components will be carried out and who is responsible for making sure this happens.
- When you're considering the components think about your employee's needs both now and in the future.
For more information on the seven components, again, contact your local OSHA chapter.
Typical Office Safety Issues
Obviously the typical office safety plan will cover far more issues than what is listed below. This list can help you to start thinking about what would be good to include on your office plan.
- Noise hazards (even in an office setting)
- Reducing noise
- Protective equipment
- Electrical safety
- Grounding electrical cords
- Removing trip hazards
- Prompt clean-up of spills
- Keeping passageways clear in case of fire
- Computer safety
- Good ergonomics
- Fire hazards (overheating)
- Rest periods
- Office lighting
- Indoor air quality
- Strange odors and chemical contaminations (also falls under chemical hazards)
Going Forward: Write Your Action Plan
You may be surprised to learn that an injury and illness prevention plan, or basic safety plan is not the same as an action plan. After you work all the components into a basic office safety plan you'll be writing an action plan. While your safety plan is general, your action plan will be specific. It's a very important part of the process that you should not ignore.
"Check fire alarms twice yearly," is an example of a safety plan component. While an action plan would cover step-by-step problems and solutions associated with this component. What if the fire alarms fail to work correctly during the bi-yearly test? The action plan will cover the problem and the solution; such as who will fix the alarms, why it should be fixed, target date for completing the task, and so on. It's comprehensive on all levels in order to nicely supplement your general safety plan.
Plan for the Worst
Part of your plan is going to be general (basic office safety plan); part will be comprehensive (action plan); and the last component will be for emergencies.
Issues such as earthquake safety precautions, hurricane safety tips, workplace violence prevention, fire safety monitoring and health-related problems should all be included on an emergency portion of the plan. Health issue components of the emergency plan will include items like first aid and CPR, first aid kit locations and blood bourn pathogen safety.
It may seem like overkill to have basic, action and emergency office safety plan components, but studies show that people learn better with broken down pieces of an entire plan. Trying to stuff all of this information into one plan is going to be one, hard for whoever is writing the plan, and two, hard for employees to access.
Creating an office safety plan can be overwhelming. If you're thinking it might be easier to just skip the plan, don't. There are plenty of organizations who do this every day who can help. OSHA, discussed above, is one and another very good organization to contact is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Both organizations can help you find the resources you need to create a great office safety plan and keep you and your employees safe.