How to Keep Everyone Safe During an Office Renovation
As a business owner you’ll understand how important it is that your premises look up-to-date and modern. If your office hasn’t had any work done since it opened, it’ll show, especially if everyone around you has had some renovations. Renovations or re-furbishments can be expensive, but depending on how much you plan to have done, you could stay open for the duration. You’ll need a safety plan, though, and this is how you do it.
A basic safety plan
Your safety plan must ask your renovation team to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) guidelines. The plan must be drawn up before any work starts, and agreed upon by you, your contractors and anyone else involved.
Of course no matter how strict the guidelines in the plan are, there will be mess, debris and dust created and these will affect staff and customers alike. You must make sure that there are barriers put up to minimize noise, dust and disruption. Ideally, you should order signs from a company like My Safety Sign to notify visitors and customers that there may be dust, as many people suffer from conditions like dermatitis and asthma.
Preparing for the work
One of the biggest jobs at this stage is to de-clutter. This can actually be one of the most demanding tasks, as there may be years of files, old chairs, old monitors and aged Christmas decorations to plough through. They have to go, though, as they can’t be stacked up, ready to fall on people or trip them up. Think of it as a cleansing exercise – that monitor you saved in 2006 because you thought it’d be handy one day… It wasn’t was it?
To help you through these stages, you need a storage unit to house the items you do need and a dumpster to take that monitor and its friends to the recycling plant. Have a hierarchy for deciding what stays and goes – things you use daily, weekly or monthly stay, obviously, as well as records you need to retain for a certain amount of time. Anything that hasn’t been used for a year or two has to go, although run it past management first.
Firm up your safety plans
Safety plans are guides that feature safety standards and protocols. You’ll need:
- Clear plans of each area that’s being renovated, including clear evacuation routes;
- the renovation stage dates and reminders for your team to work safely and clear up regularly;
- all new fixtures and fittings on-site, ready to be installed;
- a floor-clearing or sweeping rota – ideally it should be done every hour;
- minimal use of extension leads, especially on the office or sales floors, in doorways or across corridors;
- to close all corridors or aisles that are being renovated, as well as the pathways for the new fixtures going to these aisles, and
- protective gear for employees and the renovation team.
Your clients and visitors are at risk in three main ways:
- They might not realize that your site isn’t as safe as they may expect it to be, especially young children, older people or the more vulnerable;
- they won’t have the same safety awareness and training that your staff and renovation team have, and
- they are reliant on you to have a comprehensive safety plan to protect them and they’ll assume that you have fulfilled this duty, so make sure you have done.
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