4 Important Measures for Workplace Health and Safety

Employers are responsible for making sure workers remain safe on the job, and as recently as 2016, 904 workers died after being involved in workplace accidents, according to the University of Regina. Understanding what’s required of you as an employer makes it easy to help employees work safely. There are several important measures to include in a workplace health and safety plan.

Understand and Correct Workplace Hazards

Things at work that cause harm to the human body are considered workplace hazards. The ideal time to explore the work area — to identify potential hazards to correct — is before anyone sustains an injury. Some common workplace hazards include:

  • Chemicals that present an inhalation risk or burns
  • Poor ergonomics that can lead to repetitive stress injuries and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Biological hazards such as bacteria that can lead to illness
  • Physical hazards such as mould, extreme temperatures and high noise levels

Create an Emergency Response Plan

When your company has an emergency response plan in place, it increases safety for everyone. An emergency response plan begins with an inspection of your work area to determine potential risks. The plan is then developed around what steps need to be taken to protect people’s lives if a disaster occurs. Examples of details to include in your emergency response plan include:

  • What to do if there’s a fire
  • Steps to take if chemicals spill
  • What to do if something explodes
  • The escape route if there’s a flood

Help Employees Reduce Workplace Stress

It’s important for employers to help workers deal with stress from the tasks associated with a job or from dealing with challenging co-workers. Set up an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, to help employees who are struggling with life’s challenges. EAPs are designed to be used for short term relief and should be part of a long term wellness program, according to CCOHS.

Encourage Balance Between Work and Life

Consider setting up a work-life balance initiative for your employees to help them navigate through the work day while allowing for life away from work. Some examples of work-life balance initiatives include:

  • Fitness facilities or gym memberships
  • Offering childcare on-site
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Training and education for things that improves the quality of life for workers

Implementing measures to ensure workplace health and safety has many advantages. It keeps your company in legal compliance. It bolsters employee morale, and it reduces work time that could otherwise be lost to sick days and on-the-job injuries.

How to Prepare Your Workplace for the Unexpected

Don’t wait for an emergency, plan ahead! According to a Staples Business Advantage™ survey,* nearly half of all workers are unsure if their company has an emergency plan. Fifty percent of workers say they participate in safety drills only once every few years. It’s easy to put out of mind, but disasters are always a threat.

Learn how to prepare your employees, building and assets in the event of an emergency, from natural disasters, human-caused hazards to technology-related dangers.

 5 keys to emergency preparedness success.

  1. Leadership investment

A successful plan requires management leadership and financial support. Planning ahead for an emergency situation can help minimize corporate impacts in labour and services.

  1. Plan

Create a plan that details what everyone should do and where to go in the event of an emergency. Address top-line threats or hazards that could cause injury, property damage, business disruption or environmental impact.

  1. Implement

You should implement the plan so that all building occupants are aware of what they need to do in an emergency situation. Identify resources, provide written plans and develop a system to help manage incidents and train employees.

  1. Test

Conduct testing and exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of your preparedness program. Make sure employees know what to do and note any critical missed areas.

  1. Revise

Revising the plan is the key to success. A program is only as good as the last time it was tested. Periodically reassess the plan for weaknesses and new areas of interest, and revise plans accordingly.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 edition of Shop Talk. Order your copy today or visit eway.ca to browse it online.

Staples Business Advantage™ can provide you with the tools and plans you need to help implement an emergency preparedness program for your business. Call your Account Manager today for more information.

*Source: “Staples.com Survey Shows Gaps in Office Health and Safety Preparedness” on Staples News Center (http://staples.newshq.businesswire.com)

Supplier Or Partner? How to Spot The Difference

As a facility professional, you’re an integral part of your company’s success. And when it’s your responsibility to keep things running smoothly and efficiently, it helps to have the right people in your corner.

Our Field Guide for Facility Managers will help you spot the difference between a Supplier and a Partner. Quick tip: A supplier provides products, but a partner goes above and beyond to provide value to their customer.

Facilitypartner

Bottom line: don’t settle for a supplier, find a true partner.

The unexpected can happen anytime. That’s why your Staples Business Advantage Facility Specialists is available whenever and wherever you need. They live and work in your area, so dedicated, attentive service is always just a call away. Discover more about our Facilities Solutions here.

Ready to shop now? Make the best for your facility and building happen. Check out our large assortment of facility products to help you stay efficient and productive, shop now on eway.ca.

 

How Safe Is Your Facility?

Compare your workplace with these workplace health statistics.

The top 3 issues in the workplace involved employers failing to1:

  1. Keep floors and other work surfaces free of hazards and accumulations of refuse, snow or ice
  2. Maintain equipment, materials and protective devices in good condition
  3. Provide mandatory general awareness health and safety training to workers and supervisors

Take a look at the infographic below for more stats on workplace safety:

Facility-capture

Sources:
1 Ontario Ministry of Labour
2 Staples Advantage Survey
3 Canadian Community Health Survey 2013
4 Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC)
5 Conference Board of Canada

 

Recycling Pays

For businesses, recycling pays. Investing in a recycling program helps protect the environment, your people and your budget.

About 80% of what we throw away is recyclable.
And there’s more to recycling than paper and aluminum cans. Making simple changes to your business culture and recycling procedures can have a long-term positive impact on the environment – and your budget.

Easy solutions.
Install energy-efficient lamps that cost less to operate, shop tech waste and batteries to a nearby recycling centre, and put up signage at your facility that lets employees know where to put their trash. By taking these steps, you can help reduce energy consumption and lower trash-removal costs.

Improving company culture.
Employees prefer to work for companies with strong corporate responsibility programs, which include environmental consciousness. Turnover costs are reduced because these employees tend to stay with their companies longer and are happier with senior management when compared to their peers at companies with weaker cultures of corporate responsibility.

Recycling spotlight.
There are many different options when it comes to recycling. With so many different ways to help save the planet, companies need to create an eco-conscious culture.

By implementing these ideas, you can have a more planet-friendly workplace:

  • Recycling kits for batteries, electronics, lightbulbs and light tubes
  • Printer toner cartridge recycling
  • Waste receptacles
  • Recycling containers

Did you know?
In 2009 Canada produced 777kilograms of garbage per citizen*.
*Source: CBC News Article: Canadian produce more garbage than anyone else.

Looking for environmentally friendly and eco-concious alternatives? Shop green solutions and make alternative choices happen on eway.ca.

RecyclingPays

Mission: Sustainability

As every facility manager knows, offices go through a lot of paper, from paper towels and facial tissue to bathroom tissue and napkins. This presents the perfect opportunity to buy products that support their companies’ overall sustainability missions while saving money.
Here are factors to consider when stocking up on sustainable paper for the bathroom and the breakroom:

Pre-and post-consumer content.
Many products are made with pre-consumer recycled content, utilizing wood scraps and other wood waste from manufacturing plants. Look instead for labels that indicate the levels of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content which is salvaged and recycled from used and discarded products like magazines and office paper.

Production without pollution.
In the case of recycled paper products, processed chlorine free (PCF) products contain recycled content produced without elemental chlorine or chlorine derivatives. These processes cut down on chemicals and pollution formed as a by-product of paper production.

Dispensing system.
Making your facilities eco-friendly is more than changing what you use, it can also mean changing how you use it. Save money and wasted product by installing dispensing systems that dispense a set amount of paper product.

Additional benefits.
In addition to saving resources and cutting down waste and pollution, the right paper products and dispensing systems can minimize germs and contamination and deliver significant cost-in-use savings

Did you know?
Not all green and recycled paper products are created equally, and just because a product is “recycled” doesn’t mean it’s the most sustainable option. Look for products with significant amounts of PCR content.

Schedule a site visit.
Staples Advantage Facility Specialists can provide you with the information, advice and products you need to put your eco-conscious paper program into action.

Call your Account Manager today for more information or shop our Eco-Friendly products selection on Eway.ca.

 

Is Your Floor Care Plan Efficient?

While you may be facing limited resources and budget constraints, your facility still needs to look its best. By re-evaluating your equipment, processes and products, you can decide where your dollars are best spent to maximize productivity. Here are some factors to consider.

Size of Custodial Staff
With so many organizations reducing their labour budgets, every facility manager should evaluate their equipment purchases in order to accommodate the decrease in staff. Upgrading floor equipment to a piece that offers increased efficiency is a great way to make up for lost hours. It may seem like you’re spending more initially, but the time saved will make up for the cost of the machine.

Get the Right Equipment for the Job
You should also evaluate your square footage. Has it changed? Are you seeing an increase in worker injury claims? These questions need to be revisited in order to evaluate your equipment needs. New models use fewer chemicals (less product to buy), run more quietly (can be used during the day, saving time), and consume less water (less downtime because floors dry sooner).

Vacuums
Reconsidering your choice in vacuums is helpful since these cleaning tools can dramatically improve productivity, indoor air quality and overall cleanliness. Studies show that when combined with an effective cleaning program, quality backpacks can increase productivity by up to 70% without adding staff.

Equipment Maintenance
Costly equipment downtime is the equivalent of two or three custodians on extended sick leave. Lengthen the service life of your equipment by taking the necessary time to get every piece running at peak performance.

Mar24
Did you know? Up to 24 pounds of dirt can be tracked in by just 1,000 people coming through an entrance over a 20-day work period.*

*Source: extract from a Stephen Ashkin article, Destination Green, September 2006/Progressive Shopper/Wausau Insurance Company.

5 Tips to Prevent Expensive Cleaning Maintenance

Implementing a proactive floor care maintenance program can not only help your building’s floors look clean and attractive, but can also help prevent expensive and time-consuming maintenance down the road.

Implement preventive maintenance.
Proper sidewalk cleaning is an important first step in keeping dirt and water from entering your building. Installing adequate entrance matting (typically 15’–18′ outside and inside doorways) traps up to 90% of dirt and moisture.

Follow a routine cleaning program.
Floors should be vacuumed and/or cleaned at least once a day, preventing sand and grit from destroying their finish and cutting carpet fibers at the base. Set up regular inspections to keep track of areas that need special maintenance.

Choose the right cleaning chemicals.
Choose cleaning chemicals that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOC). There are many highly effective non-VOC cleaning options available.

Choose the right tools for the job.
The lowest priced tools and equipment may not lead to the lowest cost of use. An example is microfiber cleaning cloths and dust mops. High-quality microfiber, split multiple times to create small cleaning fibers, removes more soil and germs than bargain products.

Equip your staff with proper training.
On average, the cleaning industry has a staff turnover rate of 75%. This is not only troublesome and expensive for management, but can lead to under-trained staff. Well-trained employees are more productive and tend to stay with the job longer. Your supply vendors can provide access to extensive training programs, from procedure guides and videos to hands-on product and equipment demonstrations.

Schedule a site visit.
Staples Advantage’s Facilities Specialists can provide you with the information, advice and products you need to put your floor maintenance program into action.

Call your Account Manager today for more information. Or get started today and shop a great selection of cleaning products on eway.ca.

 

Is Your Office Air Harming Your Health?

Did staying healthy for 2016 make the top of your New Year’s resolution list? Like most Canadians who make resolutions, it likely did. Adding in fresh foods and more exercise is a great start, but did you know that the quality of air we breathe plays a major role in living and sustaining a healthy lifestyle?

In most cases, good indoor air quality (IAQ) goes unnoticed. It’s only when air quality is bad that people start talking about it. Many symptoms commonly associated with a cold or the flu can actually be attributed to poor IAQ.

Here are seven tips for maintaining your facility’s indoor air quality.

Maintenance.
From changing air filters to keeping your HVAC system up to date, maintaining the building is the first line of defense against poor IAQ.

Keep the building clean.
A proper cleaning routine can help rid the building of harmful bacteria and dust particles that build up over time.

Choose the right chemicals.
Choosing cleaning chemicals that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOC). There are many highly effective non-VOC cleaning options available.

Ensure proper airflow and ventilation.
Consult with a space-planning expert to achieve optimal airflow.

Carefully arrange furniture and equipment.
When placing office furniture and equipment, keep in mind your air circulation and temperature control systems, as well as the pollutant removal functions of your HVAC systems.

Watch emission sources.
Position significant emission sources, such as large copy machines, away from occupied spaces like cubicles and offices. Also, keep them away from air intakes.

Unblock air vents.
Teach building occupants the importance of not blocking air ventilation panels with furniture, equipment or personal items.

Schedule a site visit with a Staples Advantage Facilities Specialist to provide you with the information, advice and products you need to put your indoor air quality program into action. Visit staplesadvantage.ca for more information.

AirQuality-Blog