Health & Safety in the Office

  • Health & Safety
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

In this guide, we'll discuss how to manage Health & Safety in the office, Health & Safety law, and how to control safety risks.

Every employer wants to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Whilst keeping your staff safe is important, it's also your legal responsibility. This applies to every employer; including businesses that hire office workers. 

Managing Health & Safety in your workplace will help you to protect your employees' health and wellbeing. For example, ensuring everyone is trained in the best Health & Safety practices will ensure they know how to respond. If you don't, it could result in workplace injuries, or even legal proceedings.

In this guide, we'll discuss how to manage Health & Safety in the office, Health & Safety law, and how to control safety risks.

What Health & Safety legislation applies to offices?

Several pieces of Health & Safety legislation apply to those working in an office. But, the main one employers must follow is the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992. This states the duties of employers to ensure the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Other pieces of relevant legislation are:

Failure to follow the above and take reasonable care of your staff can have serious consequences for your business. For example, it could mean a staff member is injured. Which could lead to visits from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as well as financial and legal damage.

What are the Health & Safety requirements for an office-based business?

Office-based businesses have several Health & Safety requirements. For example, they must maintain a clean work environment and a reasonable temperature, as well as having adequate ventilation. This is to ensure staff are comfortable and their health isn't at risk.

Other Health & Safety requirements for employers include:

Risk assessments

One Health & Safety requirement businesses must perform is risk assessments. A risk assessment determines what hazards at work are likely to cause a risk of harm to your employees, or visitors to your workplace. As well as controlling any current risks. 

For example, any faulty electrical appliances are a risk to fire safety. And failing to remove them could lead to serious injuries. Remember, if you employ five or more staff members, you are legally required to keep a record of your risk assessments and results.

Health & Safety policy

Every business is required to create and display a physical Health & Safety policy. The policy should describe your approach to Health & Safety in your office, as well as any Health & Safety rules staff should comply with.

For example, it should state what staff should do when an accident occurs, or who accidents should be reported to, and how to report them. 

Accident and incident reporting

Employers are also required to record accidents at work, according to RIDDOR. Meaning, that any time a workplace accident occurs, you must keep a record of it in an accident book. Depending on the injury, you might also have to report it to the Health And Safety Executive.

However, it doesn't hurt to make a note of any injuries that have previously occurred in your workplace - regardless of severity. This can be an essential part of understanding what measures you can take to prevent harm from occurring.

Implement control measures

Once you have completed your risk assessment, you can now implement control measures to ensure employee safety.

For example, this might include:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent exposure to chemicals and fire.
  • Regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) to ensure electrical appliances aren't faulty.
  • Fire extinguishers, to combat fires should they occur.

Appoint a first aider

As advised by the HSE, you are required to ensure employees get immediate help if harmed at work. The best way to do so is to appoint first aiders in your workplace. How many you need is dependent on the size of your business and the industry you work in.

You must also ensure your workplace has:

  • A fully stocked first aid kit.
  • Information for employees that informs them of first aid arrangements at your work.

How do you maintain Health & Safety in the office?

To maintain Health & Safety within your workplace environment, and to avoid major injury occurring, there are several steps you can take. Such as:

Display your Health & Safety procedures

You are legally required to create and display your business's Health & Safety policy. But, you could take this further to ensure your staff are aware of ways they can maintain office safety. For example, you could display Health & Safety guidance throughout your workplace. 

This could be anything from posters advising how to use a fire extinguisher or ways to maintain hygiene at work. Either way, it will help reinforce your standards to your employees, and aid them should an incident occur.

Appoint a competent person

Next, you should appoint a competent person to oversee your Health & Safety management. This is someone with the skills, training, and knowledge to maintain a safe environment.

For example, they might conduct a visual inspection of your workplace to evaluate the risk of harm occurring. As a result, they'll be able to advise what steps you need to take to reduce or remove this risk.

Provide Health & Safety training

Another step you can take to maintain Health & Safety in your workplace is to provide adequate Health & Safety training. Not everyone in your workplace will be familiar with the best safety practices, so provide guidance where necessary.

For example, you could offer first aid training to your staff to ensure they can step in should an incident occur. Remember, it’s good practice to provide refresher training as well as training for new starters. 


What is Health & Safety in an office environment?

Health & Safety in an office is the premise of employers taking care of their staff within an office environment.

All workplaces must maintain the health and wellbeing of those attending them - even in the office. No matter how big or small the office is, it is your legal requirement as an employer.

Who is legally responsible for Health & Safety in the office?

Employers are legally responsible for the Health & Safety of their staff in any environment - including offices.

This responsibility extends to employees, temporary workers, and agency workers - as well as any visitors to the workplace, such as contractors or customers.

What are the examples of office-related Health & Safety hazards?

There are several hazards that employers working from an office will have to consider. For example, wet floors from cleaning could cause passersby to slip or fall. Consequently, you can reduce the chance of injury by using wet floor signs. Other potential hazards include:

  • Poorly maintained electrical equipment or damaged electrical equipment.
  • Display screen equipment (DSE), for example, computer or laptop screens.
  • Manual handling tasks, such as lifting heavy objects.
  • Excessive natural light, for example, if your workplace has windows but no blinds.

Remember to consider factors that affect your staff members mentally - such as workplace stress. Encouraging employees to take adequate rest breaks during the working week will help combat this, as well as ensuring they maintain a healthy work-life balance.

How Peninsula can help you with Health & Safety in the office

Working in an office environment can come with its own set of risks. From staircase falls to poor posture at your staff's display screens, there are several ways injury could occur. And if an accident does occur, you could face investigations from the HSE, financial loss and legal proceedings.

But, with Peninsula's support, you take the stress and worry out of inspections. We’ll guide you through risk assessments, create your Health & Safety policies, and provide 24/7 support – whenever you need help.

Get expert advice on Health & Safety in the office from Peninsula

You have a legal duty to protect every employee, client, or visitor in your office. This means appointing a competent person, performing risk assessments, and providing Health & Safety training.

Failure to do so could mean serious consequences for your business. For example, a lack of Health & Safety Management can lead to workplace injury, or in severe instances, death. Consequently, you might face legal and financial proceedings.

Our teams offer free Health & Safety advice regarding your office space. Our teams provide 24/7 Health & Safety advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our Health & Safety experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with a Health & Safety consultant today.

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