Office Safety and Security: What Workers Need to Know and Do

Offices are usually thought of as safe and serene, but in fact they are rife with risks. Two recent lists detail them, and explain how to avoid them.

Although office environments lack the cutting, crushing, twisting or pounding machinery of industrial spaces, that doesn’t mean they’re are without risks … from both inside and outside the building.

That was made clear with two sets of office safety precautions recently published by the security company, Protection One, and by BLR’s interactive training program, Computer Based Training: Office Safety. The Protection One tips, which we’ll discuss today, have largely to do with exterior and security threats. The BLR ideas, which we’ll feature tomorrow, are more from self-created or internal hazards.

Here’s what Protection One recommends:

Parking Lot Security/Lighting. Because crime flourishes in the dark and Daylight Savings Time is still a month away, Protection One suggests a “buddy system” to ferry workers to and from their cars. Parking lots access should be limited to controlled points, and the lots should be as well lit as possible. In fact, light is such a deterrent to crime that Protection One suggests you keep your entire facility lit, inside and out, during nonbusiness hours.

Your people can teach themselves about office safety with BLR’s program, Computer Based Training: Office Safety. Try it at no cost or risk. Click for details.

Entrance Area Safety. Reception areas should always be manned, all visitors registered (even if they wear the uniform of contract cleaning or other service personnel), and all doors, windows, and locks checked frequently for proper operation. Badge or other photo ID systems should be used, with entry code systems checked often. And if you ever see a door propped open with a chair so it doesn’t lock behind employees outside on a break, you have every right to get really, really upset about it.

Suspicious Activity. Employees should be urged to report any suspicious persons or activity around the building, and suspicious packages should never be opened. Instead, report them to the authorities for proper search and disposal.

Information Safety. Second only to securing your people’s safety is protecting your organization’s vital business information. Unfortunately, it’s increasingly easy for computer “hackers” or disgruntled employees to steal. For that reason, Protection One suggests using the latest security software for your entire system, frequently updated, with information regularly backed up. Paper documents with critical information should be shredded as soon as they’re no longer needed.

Equipment Security. Protection One suggests keeping an inventory of all your critical equipment, hardware, and software. That’s especially important as electronic devices shrink in size, and thus are easier to conceal and remove. Having an inventory (many experts suggest taking photos of important items) will also make it easier for your insurance carrier to process any claim should something “go missing.”

Try BLR’s Computer Based Training: Office Safety at no cost or risk. Click for info./

–Employee Valuables
. Provide secure places, such as lockable drawers and closets, for employee property and encourage their use. Protection One includes as valuables anything that reveals personal information, and advises that these items especially be locked away “during company gatherings or breaks.” Finally, Protection One suggests setting up a safety team, which many feel should include both managers and employees. Such a team can “help to keep safety and security issues a focus.” We’ll focus on additional office hazards, and a tool to train in how to avoid them, in tomorrow’s Safety Daily Advisor.