Ah, the beloved breakroom. A lunchtime escape from the cramped office cubicle. A place to walk around freely without ridicule, to eat doughnuts without shame, and to converse with coworkers about whatever tickles your fancy. It’s a temporary getaway for many office employees and can provide instant relief for the workday blues. To keep the breakroom enjoyable for everyone, it’s extremely important to make sure it’s safe. Following these work safety tips will ensure a clean, comfortable, and welcoming environment.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Never underestimate the power of hand sanitizer. This is an office safety tip that should not be forgotten. In an office space, employees are constantly touching things. They touch the same door knobs that you might touch later in the day, they sneeze, they cough, and they shake hands (not necessarily in that order). With this much contact, it’s hard to say that you can avoid a cold or flu by simply crossing your fingers. In the breakroom, things get even riskier. Food that is brought for everyone in the office is also handled by everyone. If an employee has a sick daughter at home and brings her illness to the workspace, it won’t be long before the entire company is sniffling.
Every office employee knows that a breakroom is not complete without some nice chairs and a good pot of coffee. These essentials provide a comfortable workspace where employees can chit-chat and sip on a beverage. But if the breakroom isn’t regularly cleaned and sanitized, pathogens will spread and the employees who normally spend their lunch in the breakroom will be out sick! Keep cleaning/sanitation supplies available. Make sure these cleaning supplies are labeled and kept in a separate place away from any food or utensils.
Apply a cleaning policy. It’s hard to say that everyone will clean up after themselves. There’s always that one guy who assumes it won’t hurt if he leaves a few crumbs hanging around. After all, who could pin it on him? In this case, it might benefit the office to assign cleaning days to employees. If the breakroom is cleaned on a daily basis, it won’t take long to do a maintenance spray-down. Having a regularly cleaned breakroom not only helps prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, it also makes the lunch experience more pleasant!
Encouraging employees to bring meals from home stimulates a healthier diet and happier workflow. Place signs around the breakroom to remind employees to refrigerate perishables. Leaving food out for more than two hours will bring an unwanted party of bacteria to your lunch-in. Invest in a thermometer to make sure the breakroom fridge is up to par.
In an office, everything is labeled. Why not go all out and label the food, too? Gluten and nut allergies are more common than you think. Invest in specialty diet foods that are friendly to most, and label snacks with common allergens to avoid a coworker having a potential allergic reaction.
An employee should feel secure in the workplace. Unfortunately, paper cuts and stranger mishaps do happen. In these cases, antibiotic creams and Band-Aids usually do the trick. Most first aid kits come with everything you’ll need to cure the common office space injury. Don’t forget to check the first aid kits regularly for supply availability! It’s quite a disappointment to open a first aid kit with nothing inside.
Picturing yourself escaping a blazing office fire might seem exciting, but it’s probably best to avoid the destruction of your workplace in the first place. Having a fire extinguisher installed in the breakroom is a good way to prevent a microwave mishap. Faulty wires and carelessness can easily turn a lunch break into a lunch fire. Provide new employees with instructions on fire safety to keep everyone in the office informed. Check smoke alarms to make sure they are working properly, run a fire drill to ensure organization, and display fire safety information on the breakroom bulletin board to raise employee awareness.