Your office is a reflection of you. It’s where you go to work, and it ought to be your temple. The problem is that most people don’t take the time and investment necessary to ensure that their offices are safe enough for employees or clients. In addition, there are countless details that most people don’t think about when it comes to office inspections. For example, did you know that if your office has a gas furnace, then the walls of that room need to be fireproof?
To ensure that your office is up to code and ready for health inspections and safety inspections, here is a list of things that you must consider during your inspections before officials come in to ensure that your building is up to snuff.
All stairways must be well lit with light fixtures arranged so as not to create a fire hazard. Stairs often have switches at the top and bottom of each flight, but some stairs only have one switch or none at all. This is a hazard that you should remedy as soon as possible before anyone has the chance to get hurt.
In addition, all stairway handrails must have at least three handholds, spaced apart so people can comfortably use them. Some buildings even require handrails on all steps, no matter how small the elevation difference is between any two consecutive stairs.
Apart from stairways, your office building needs an accessibility ramp if you have handicapped employees, clients, or patrons. The government doesn’t make this requirement lightly; it’s there to protect people who need special accommodations for health reasons.
2. Electrical Wiring
All electrical wiring must be in good condition and cannot pose any fire hazards whatsoever. There are numerous ways that faulty wires can cause problems, but the most notable is fires. Keep your office up to code by getting an electrical inspection condition report. Not only that, but you should also ensure that every electrical device in your office has its own circuit. Overloaded circuits can pose a fire hazard.
3. Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning Systems (HVAC)
Many business owners often neglect their office building’s HVAC system because the way these systems work is that no one should be able to notice it’s there. This is the very reason HVAC systems are taken for granted. HVAC systems are crucial in keeping internal temperatures at a moderate level and for filtering contaminants in the air. Furthermore, if the building is over five stories high, then a special type of ventilation equipment must be used. As such, you’ll need to have your HVAC regularly maintained to keep it in tip-top shape.
4. Walls, Ceilings, and Floors
Your office is no place for drafts or leaks. This can pose numerous health issues that are dangerous to your employees and the structure of the building itself—especially if it’s over five stories high. You must get any holes or cracks in walls, ceilings, or floors fixed quickly before they cause more damage. Otherwise, you will need to get your entire ceiling replaced.
5. Fire Extinguishers
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised how many office buildings neglect to keep their fire extinguishers in working order and up-to-date. All extinguishers should be inspected every six months to ensure that they’re still functional and that their pressure levels are sufficient. If an employee discharges the contents of a fire extinguisher without fully realizing what he’s doing, then it can take as long as 48 hours for the extinguisher to fully recharge. As such, you should keep a fire extinguisher in working order at all times.
6. Drinking Water
Although your office probably has its own drinking water, there may be times when employees can’t access them or need bottled water—such as during an evacuation. In addition to water fountains, all office buildings need a dedicated plumbing line for bottled water. This is particularly important if you have clean-water regulations or ordinances in your area.
Restroom facilities must be well lit and ventilated, and the mirror in the ladies’ room should also be shatterproof. The mirrors need to be placed beyond arm’s reach. Otherwise, they pose a safety hazard if someone gets too close and falls, causing injury.
Doors to restrooms should open outwards so that an employee isn’t trapped inside in case of an emergency. Furthermore, the doorway must be at least 80 inches (2.03 meters) high and 72 inches (1.83 meters) wide with no obstructions to prevent stretchers or other rescue equipment from passing through in case of an emergency.
8. Outdoor Spaces
Many business owners overlook the likes of their outdoor patios, sidewalks, and stairs—all of which can be potential safety hazards if not maintained properly. Make sure that your exterior spaces are well-lit at night, do not present tripping hazards to pedestrians, and are clear of any debris or weeds.
In addition, outdoor areas should have signs posted about any potential hazards, such as a pool or other major water features. If there’s a fire hydrant nearby, then make sure that it is well-marked and not obstructed by surrounding objects.
By taking care of these eight issues beforehand, you’ll be doing your civic duty by ensuring your office is up to code and that your building does not pose potential safety hazards.