Health and Safety - Workspace and Working Area
The area where workers are going about their duties can have a great effect on their health and safety or, more specifically, the chances of an accident happening or their health adversely affected. Most of the issues will involve a workspace which is too small.
One of the main problems of a workspace which is too small will be the insufficient amount of space in which to move around. Workers may be cramped for room and sat awkwardly, which could not only cause stress levels to rise if they get flustered at having no space to work properly, but can also involve manual handling issues if the workspace is inadequate and does not allow sufficient freedom of movement or requires the employee to sit or stand in an awkward way whilst they work.
Just as employees need freedom of movement at their own workstation, they also need enough space to easily be able to move past other workstations and pieces of equipment. This is especially true if their place of work includes dangerous machinery such as cutting apparatus, where if they were to accidentally knock into a person's arm or workbench they could cause that person to suffer a serious injury. There is also an increased chance of inadvertently coming into contact with buttons and switches if the room is small and people have to squeeze past everything to move around.
A crowded room will have numerous obstructions which will hinder any escape in the event of an emergency evacuation such as an outbreak of fire or the release of a hazardous chemical substance. Having workers needing to overcome these obstacles and competing with each other to get to the exit will increase the time taken to get outside and could be the difference between life and death.
A small room is also likely to get hot, particularly in the summer months when the temperature outside is high. Not only can this cause discomfort for workers, and may even breach certain health and safety legislation if conditions get too hot, but may also cause equipment and machinery to overheat. At worst, it will simply cease to function, but there is also a risk of fire or explosion if it malfunctions. Small workplaces with many machines crammed into it may also not have sufficient power sockets to plug them all into, which again could cause a fire to start if the sockets are overloaded with multi-socket adapters.