Relocating an office might bring up health and safety issues that are not ""normal"" aspects of doing business, whether a person is transferring down the hall or the entire firm is moving to a new city or building.
The relocating of a typical office is covered in this document in terms of some health and safety considerations. It excludes topics like building codes, permits, and contractor safety. For additional information on these subjects, contact your provincial departments and local government.
What are the initial actions?
Early on, it's critical to have a clear understanding of what has to be done and when. Make a schedule outlining the important needs and tasks. Explain to the staff why certain duties must be completed, when they must be completed, and why they must be completed early. Additionally, make an effort to timing the transfer to coincide with business cycles (i.e. move during production downtime or a """"less busy"""" time of year). Understanding the requirements of the firm is crucial. For instance, analyze each job task to find out how it is completed. Determine whether you require new furniture or whether rearranging your current furniture will better serve the demands of your team and their tasks. The following topics are covered in greater detail in OSH Answers: The Office Ergonomic section contains information on ergonomic furniture and workstation arrangements. Workplace Risk Analysis Task Design
How do I make plans for the new area?
Make a list of everything you have to start.
Ensure that your inventory is current. Check every area to make sure nothing was overlooked. Only transport useful or valuable goods to the new location. Make sure that everything you brought to the new location is functional. Ensure that whatever you move will fit in the rooms at the new site as well. Put undesirable materials in the proper disposal. You might be able to give furniture, materials, and equipment that are still in good condition but are no longer required to local organizations or """"sell"""" them to personnel for use at home. Additionally, you might be able to swap in your used furniture for new furniture or sell it. Additionally, you need to assess the new building. Keep the following in mind whether it is a brand-new structure or a recently remodeled area: Plan workstations, shared work places, photocopy areas, lunchrooms, first aid rooms, coffee areas, kitchens, storage areas, libraries, and bookrooms. You should also consider conference rooms, other special usage areas, coat closets, and other facilities. All portions of the building should adhere to any ""barrier free"" policies or laws that are in effect in your area. Establish whether personnel needs private phone/teleconference rooms, walls or doors, depending on the type of job they conduct. Establish the quantity and location of the phone lines, computer cables, and other infrastructure. Count the number of restrooms, showers, and other amenities (some of these items may be determined by building codes or other legislation). Remember to reserve room for """"keeping"""" unique products until they can be picked up if you have special requirements, such as a waste product that needs to be disposed of in a particular manner. Verify that all regulations, including those pertaining to security and emergency response, are appropriate for the new structure. Verify the ventilation (air flow) and air quality (possible contaminants, off-gassing, etc.). Before you move in, conduct a thorough inspection. Holding an orientation session to acquaint personnel with the new workplace layout would be a fantastic idea. Follow the staff's adaptation to the new facilities. Do any rules or expectations for office behavior need to be altered?
What obligations do people have?
All employees should be included in decision-making processes and informed of any potential new safety dangers. It is crucial that employees understand they will be able to resume their duties as soon as feasible. Place a higher priority on necessary startup things like computers, network requirements, phones, mail, etc. Tell every employee about this schedule in advance. Individual employees' duties could include: Prepare your office files for transportation and packing. storage and communal spaces need to be cleaned. pc disk/network space cleanup. personal effects. Take such valuables or ""breakables"" home before the transfer if at all possible. After the move, you can bring back any items you need for the new office.
What other issues might there be?
Being cognizant of the social effects on the employees when migrating, whether within the same city or to a different one, is an essential step. These worries could relate to a variety of things, like: Parking transit by bus that is accessible. Local eateries, services, etc. Moving and housing assistance. any linguistic and cultural obstacles. the distinctions between relocating from a major community to a small one and vice versa. Where necessary, career assistance, relocation assistance, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), etc. Family needs: elder care, spousal employment, child care, child education needs, etc. List of local clubs or charities, as well as a recommended list of service companies (plumbing, electrical, heating, etc.).
What are some hazards that may be introduced when moving?
Hazards that are introduced include:Trip and fall hazards due to clutter from boxes, furniture, trolleys, etc.
Obstruction of thoroughfares, corridors, hallways, etc.
Manual Materials Handling (MMH) issues such as lifting, shifting, pushing, pulling, packing, unpacking, etc.
Use of cleaning products.
Work-station set up - new arrangement of furniture or in a different space will need an ergonomic evaluation to ensure fit to worker, no glare from lights or windows, etc.
What are some packing and lifting tips?
When packing, be sure to keep the hallways clear from clutter. Boxes and containers can be placed in a common area if there is not enough room in the work space to pack and store them. Be sure you have the appropriate moving supplies on hand. These include:Boxes or containers (with good handles). Packing materials (paper, foam chips, etc.). Markers, labels, tape. Hand carts, trolleys, etc. When lifting, remember:Boxes should be closed and taped shut. They should also be light enough for one person to carry safely. Label clearly. Mark the box if it must remain upright. Use good lifting techniques. Do not twist, reach etc. Do not lift boxes above your shoulder. Get as close as possible to the box before attempting to lift. See OSH Answers documents on Manual Material Handling (lifting) for more information.
What precautions should be taken when moving collections of books and paper?
In addition to the safety hazards (falls, trips over boxes), and lifting concerns, you may experience problems with dust, dust mites, mould and book lice, especially if papers or books have been stored for a while.
The three major inhalation hazards are dust, dust mites and mold. If these are present then it is likely that they will become airborne when staff are handling the materials. Once these materials are airborne then there is potential for staff to be exposed. Dust mites are invisible and are a fairly common allergen. People who are allergic to dust mites may experience symptoms such as itchy, irritated eyes, runny nose, cough and in more severe cases, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing (asthma). Onset of severe symptoms can be delayed and occur during the night. Mould grows in warm areas where there is high humidity (greater than 70%) or in materials which have become wet. There are many different kinds of molds. There are extremely toxic molds which can make you very sick and there are molds which are non-toxic. If mold is visible then it is active. It can be many different colours. It will appear as spots on the cover or on the exposed pages of the books. Mould will likely be present if there is high humidity during the spring and fall although it is not particularly warm. If there is no gross contamination observed then materials should be checked for limited contamination. This check can be done by using a cotton swab to wipe the outside of the book. If there appears to be mold on the cotton swab after swabbing then there probably is mould present. For more information on mould, please see the OSH Answers: Indoor Air Quality - Mould and Fungi. Booklice (psocids) are minute, soft-bodied, transparent to grayish-white insects about 1/32 to 3/16 inch (1 to 4 mm) long, usually wingless, and may go unnoticed. It is helpful to use a hand lens and flashlight for detection. Booklice avoid light and prefer temperatures of approximately 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 85°F) with relative humidity of 75 to 90 percent. They do not bite humans or animals or spread disease. However, skin irritation may occur in some sensitive individuals. Recommended procedures and precautions for staff cleaning or packing these materials include: A thorough inspection of the materials should be conducted. Check. for mold contamination. Wear gloves (Type of gloves depends on the hazards present. Are cleaning agents or bleach being used?). Institute a respirator program. If mold is present, all staff should wear disposable half-mask respirator with a HEPA filter (100 level filter for dust with no oil particulates, N100. This recommendation assumes that the concentrations of airborne ammonia or chlorine from cleaning products or bleaches are low enough so that chemical cartridge do not have to be used with the particulate filter). If there is no mold present, only staff having dust mite allergy should wear disposable half-mask respirator with a HEPA filter. All other staff should wear a disposable particulate respirator (N95). Wear clothes that can be machine washed. Wash clothes after packing and before wearing again. Inform the staff as to the potential hazards and necessary precautions."""