WHS considerations for office refurbishments
A new office fitout or refurbishment presents a fantastic opportunity to examine your business processes and look for ways to increase productivity and reduce costs. WHS best practice is constantly changing, so this is also a great time to reconsider your old ways of complying with the requirements.
In our final Workplace Health & Safety article, Evoke Projects offers some tips for reducing your future WHS risks through clever and creative office refurbishments.
Lighting, ventilation and temperature control
It is important that employees are comfortable and have enough light to perform their office work. Even better, redesign your office layout to bring in as much natural daylight as possible. Natural daylight has many health benefits that can flow through to improved motivation and productivity.
Workplace Codes of Practice have guidelines for lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling. Although Codes of Practice are not legal requirements, it is best practice to include the recommendations in your office fitout designs. To find out more, visit www.business.gov.au and search for ‘WHS Codes of Practice’.
Office space planning to reduce noise issues
Noise can be an issue even in workplaces that don’t use heavy machinery. Office noise can have a detrimental effect on employees’ performance as well as contribute to stress-related health problems, such as high blood pressure. Consider installing sound-absorbing materials in the ceilings or walls during your office refurbishment.
Add acoustic partitions between workstations when you plan your office space (Evoke Projects can advise you on optimal height and spacing) and investigate noise-masking appliances, such as white noise generators. Carpeted offices absorb noise better than wood or tiles.
Add a staircase to your office design
Encourage your employees to move about more and reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting. You could even incorporate a slide, Google office style, for extra fun!
Ensure there is secure storage for any potentially dangerous tools or chemicals. Over time, it is easy for workers to become complacent. Revisit safety procedures relating to storing and locking items away.
When you’re planning your office design and space, make sure that storage cabinets won’t be opening onto office walkways.
Ergonomic workstations and chairs
No office refurbishment would be complete without some new furniture. This is the perfect time to add ergonomic workstations and chairs to reduce the risk of injury and back strain. Read our earlier article on Using office ergonomics to reduce the risk of injury.
If you are using wood or floor tiles for your office refurbishment, consider potential slip hazards. This is particularly important in areas that may be exposed to liquids, such as kitchens and storage rooms. Install slip resistant flooring, textured surfaces or apply anti-slip treatments to the floor.
Plan electricity and computer requirements well in advance to avoid loose cables trailing along floors.
Also consider the static problems prevalent in offices, particularly around photocopiers and printers. Design your office interior so that it’s a comfortable place to work, using wool mix carpets or anti-static floor coverings.
Legal WHS requirements for office redesigns
To stay up-to-date with current WHS legislation and Codes of Practice, read our earlier article in this series.
Planning your office fitout
There’s an old saying: measure twice and cut once. This principle also applies to office refurbishments and fitouts. If you plan well, you will reduce your long-term costs, and your office redesign will last you many years as well as reducing your WHS risks!
Please contact Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out more.
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