Introduction:

Maintaining a safe working environment for employees is an important responsibility for office managers. Failing to do so can result in serious accidents that may prove to be extremely costly, both financially and in terms of the company’s reputation.

By running this checklist every quarter, you will minimize the risk of accidents and have peace mind knowing that the office is fully equipped to deal with unpredictable safety hazards such as a fire or other cause for emergency evacuation.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

First step:

Record the office's details

To get things started, record a few basic details regarding the office.

General safety:

Examine the floors

Walk all around the office carefully examining the floors. Pay particular attention to areas that experience heavy traffic as they are most likely to have signs of damage and safety risks.

Below is a list of safety concerns to look out for. Check each item off once you have inspected all areas. If there are some that are present, note them down in the form field below.

  • 1
    Slip hazards
  • 2
    Obstructions (mainly hallways and exits)
  • 3
    Loose material/debris
  • 4
    Worn carpeting

Ensure stairways are in good condition

Below is a list of things to check when inspecting stairways. If there are any concerns, log them below and address them immediately or after you've completed the inspection, depending on the seriousness of the issue.

  • 1
    All stairs are unblocked
  • 2
    All handrails/handholds are securely in place
  • 3
    All stairways are well-lit
  • 4
    Steps are marked and clearly visible

Make sure there is sufficient lighting

Check that all areas are well-lit. If there are defective lightbulbs or panels, see to it that they get repaired. 

Check for warning signs near hazards

Be sure to post signs identifying hazards in areas that are being cleaned or that have recently been cleaned, and in areas prone to water accumulation and wet surfaces.

In addition to signs for slips, trips, and falls, check that there are warning signs for the following: 

  • 1
    Boiler/mechanical rooms
  • 2
    Heavy items stored at high levels
  • 3
    Equipment hazards (sharp edges, moving parts, pinch points etc.)
  • 4
    Kitchen appliances (coffee machine, sandwich maker etc.)

Check emergency evacuation plans

Verify that emergency evacuation plans are posted at every stairway and elevator landing and immediately inside all public entrances to the building. 

Scan a copy of the standard evacuation plan and upload it to the form field below.

If there have been any significant changes to the building or office's design since the last safety inspection, be sure to update the emergency evacuation plan immediately.

Ensure health and safety information is easily accessible

All health and safety information should be placed on bulletin boards in communal areas such as the kitchen and lounge area of the office so that it is easily accessible to all employees.

  • 1
    Lobby
  • 2
    Lounge
  • 3
    Kitchen
  • 4
    Corridors
  • 5
    Stairways
  • 6
    Elevators
  • 7
    Individual offices
  • 8
    None

Ensure emergency numbers are close to all phones

Every office phone must have emergency numbers written either on the unit or right next to it.

This is incredibly important as any employee must be able to report an emergency at any time without hesitation. 

These numbers should at least include:

  • Local hospital
  • Local police station
  • Building security
  • Front desk

Electrical safety:

Ensure sufficient clearance for electrical panels

OSHA compliance requirements state that 36 inches of clearance must be maintained for all electrical panels. 

To meet this standard, many workplaces combine signs with floor marking tape (as seen in the above image).

Check all electrical cords and plugs

Inspect all cords and plugs, checking that they are in good condition, are well grounded, and hidden away as best as possible so as not to obstruct any walkways or access to equipment. 

Check all extension cords are being used correctly

Extension cords can pose dangerous tripping hazards. To prevent the risk of trips and falls, they must be run through walls, doors, ceilings and not across hallways. 

Fire protection:

Check all exit signs are present and properly lit

Make sure every fire exit in the office has a sign above it that is well-lit. 

Check all fire alarms

Check that fire alarms are visible and accessible. 

You can read more about employee alarm regulation standards on the OSHA website. 

Ensure all fire extinguishers are easily accessible

Verify that all fire extinguishers have received proper servicing and are in good condition.

Here is a detailed overview of how to service fire extinguishers.

Furniture and office equipment:

Check all large items are secured from tipping

Large and heavy items need to be checked to ensure that they are being stored safely and securely. 

All large and heavy items must be stored on low shelves and secured properly to prevent the risk of tipping and potentially injuring someone. 

Check desks and file drawers for obstruction

All hallways in the office need to be free from obstructions. In addition to electrical cords, desks and file drawers are often guilty of unnecessarily obstructing areas of the office. 

Look out for open file drawers. Even when a drawer is fully open, it should not be obstructing the hallways. If any are, simply change the direction that the drawer faces. 

Ensure cabinets and bookshelves are properly anchored

Check that all high cabinets and bookshelves are securely attached to the wall and floor.

This is particularly important if you are in an area that is prone to earthquakes such as California, Oregon or Nevada.

Ensure storage rooms are neat and orderly

Check that all storage rooms are in good condition.

They should be clean, tidy and well organized. Floors should be clear of any clutter that could be a tripping hazard and items on shelves should be securely in place, without risk of falling. 

Ergonomics:

Check all employees have fully adjustable chairs

All office employees should have fully adjustable chairs so that they can sit comfortably and with good posture. This is becoming an increasingly important aspect of office safety as many people are experiencing neck and back pain due to poor alignment when sitting at their desks. 

In addition to providing fully adjustable chairs, each employee should be encouraged to sit with good posture, in a way that keeps their neck and back straight throughout the workday. 

Check out these 10 tips for improving posture and ergonomics.

Ensure that footrests are available if required

Some employees with a history of neck or back problems may require a footrest. Having a bunch of ergonomic footrests in storage ensures your employees that you care about their needs and personal safety. 

If you are skeptical, read about the ergonomic benefits of a footrest. 

Check monitors are adjusted to the appropriate height

The final step to completing the office safety inspection checklist is to make sure that all the employees in the office are sitting with good posture. 

In addition to providing fully adjustable chairs, monitors should be adjusted so that the top of the screen is at eye level. This encourages them to sit upright while working. 

Of course, each person has a unique way of sitting that feels comfortable to them. Ultimately, everyone will sit however they please, but at least attempting to ensure that all monitors are at a reasonable height is a responsible and thoughtful thing to do. 

Sources:

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