Safety takes on a higher level of importance as the winter months approach. As businesses, we need to pay special attention to the work environment to be sure our employees are ready for whatever Mother Nature sends our way.
Take this brief survey to be sure you are ready to protect your employees and your office:
When is the last time you had your fire extinguishers checked?
In the US, fire extinguishers in all non-residential buildings should be checked annually – and some municipalities require a more frequent check. Look at the tag on the extinguisher to see the type of service that was performed in the past and pay attention to the date. If it is more than 12 months ago, you need to have it checked and serviced.
When is the last time you looked at the ceilings in your office? It might seem like a silly question but piling too many boxes and supplies on your file cabinets can block fire sprinklers from working properly. Well-meaning employees might try to use all the available vertical space in an office so that the floor is clear of obstacles. This might have adverse consequences. Look upward and rearrange or get rid of unnecessary items.
Are your employees using space heaters?
As an employer, you need to balance the comfort of your employees with your heating bills. And the optimum temperature varies for each individual. Some may be too cold in winter and others too hot. One solution is that employees may use space heaters to keep their space comfortable. Have you checked your employees work areas lately to see where they have placed these heaters? You may find that they are under desks and surrounded by purses and shoes and umbrellas and near stacks of file folders. This is a clear fire hazard. Although modern space heaters don’t start fires as easily as those in the past, you still need to be smart. Give the space heater some air and make sure it is not too close to something that can start on fire. This is the best way to eliminate any risk. Also be sure your employees are turning the devices off each day or have an automatic shut off.
Where are the furnace vents and intake valves in your office and home?
You probably haven’t given it much thought. But keeping vents, intake valves and chimneys free of snow and ice in the winter is important to keep the heat on and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a good idea to have a functioning carbon monoxide monitor in your home or office, especially this time of year.