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Workplace Safety Outside the Building – Part One
When visiting a premises, a person, whether visitor or a individual representing the enforcement authority (Fire services, HSE, EHO, CQC), will make a judgement on the level and type of health and safety management within the business. First impressions do count and will make a difference as to how the visitor creates a view, rightly or wrongly, on the management of health and safety. In this blog we will explore the outside of a building and its impact on health and safety.
Let’s consider the outside of the building before we enter. There are many different potential hazards.
Some of these include:
- Segregation of pedestrians and vehicles
- Falling leaves, branches and, in extreme cases, trees
- Ice and slippery conditions caused by the rain
- Uneven ground and cracks in walking areas
- Movement of a parking barrier up and down
- Loading and unloading of deliveries
- Poor lighting
- Waste bins and rubbish
- Hazardous substances storage
- Gas cylinder storage
Let’s explore this further by given two different scenarios.
On entering the car park there is a recognised area with parking bays and all vehicles are within a bay. There is a loading and unloading area for deliveries which is demarcated,and a highlighted area outside emergency exit doors prohibiting parking near these vital fire exits. There are safety signs outside giving guidance on what you can and cannot do, or alerts to hazards such as ‘fire exit – no parking’ etc.). Where required, there are traffic calming applications and other speed restriction signs.
An area with no painted demarcation lined parking bays. Thus, the drivers decide how and where they should park, leading to cars parked on grass verges and blocking fire exit doors and other areas where loading and unloading is required. There are no safety signs, so no indication of hazards and no guidance on what can and cannot be done.
It is easy when visiting both types of premises to form an initial impression of how the business manages health and safety even before opening the front door. Remember this is what the visitor notices and, worst case scenario, if an incident has occurred outside and has to be investigated, then the lack of safety management of the outside of the building will be taken into account.
In my next blog Workplace Safety outside the Building – Part Two I will give you guidance on what safety measures to consider when assessing the risks to visitors outside the premises.
Sally Beck RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, CMIOSH - QCS Expert Health and Safety Contributor