The condition and cleanliness of your workplace have a direct impact on the welfare of your employees. You must meet a range of minimum workplace standards under health and safety law.
You must provide:
- clean toilets, with water, soap and a towel or drier
- access to drinking water
- clean working areas, with waste regularly removed
- adequate space to work in
- a comfortable working temperature
You must also ensure that your workplace and any company vehicles used by more than one person are smoke-free.
Risks to consider
Other issues you may have to consider include:
- supplying ergonomic office equipment, ie designed to give maximum comfort and support
- ensuring levels of dust and fumes are kept down - minimising smell levels
- ensuring staff are not subjected to excessive levels of noise
- preventing contact with irritants or hazardous substances
- providing well maintained and comfortable rest areas
- implementing good communication channels
Use a health and safety risk assessment to determine the specific risk in your business.
Manage occupation health risks
To establish and maintain a working environment that safeguards staff welfare you need to put into place systems which allow you to:
- identify and involve workers in assessing workplace risks
- assess and consider employees' needs when planning and organising work
- provide advice, information and training to employees, as well as mechanisms for employee feedback such as a suggestion scheme
- regularly monitor and record employees' health
Effective management of occupation health aims to improve general health and prevent work-related illness and injury. It should also include intervening early when health problems arise, and helping those who have long-term sickness to return to work.
Some elements of occupational health are good practice, while others are legally required such as health and safety risk assessment.
Remember that you have a legal duty of care to your employees. This means you are responsible for all health and safety issues at work even those which are not covered by specific laws. You must assess all risks to employees' health and safety and take steps to control these risks.