4 Health and Safety Risks When Finding an Office (and How to Look for Them)

Finding an office comes with many requirements. Layout, size and location are things you have to think about. But all of these are secondary to making sure the office is safe to work in. If you haven’t started looking at offices at all, a helpful office relocation guide might be needed. When you’re ready, here are the 5 most important health and safety risks to be aware of before you sign the dotted line.



Even though asbestos was banned in the 1990s, asbestos-related disease still kills more people per year than car accidents. If your potential new office was built before the year 2000, there is at least a 50% chance it contains asbestos. Asbestos could be anywhere in an old building. It was used in paint, piping and walls. Some asbestos has been removed since it was outlawed, but a lot of it remains.

How to check for it

Find out if the building you are looking at has an asbestos management plan in place. This way, even if the office does have asbestos, it will be properly contained and much less of a danger than it would be if left unchecked.


Office space

The office may seem big enough, but once you get your desks, chairs and tables inside it could be a different story. If your office is packed to the rafters, with items left in impractical places and wires trailing all over the place, you could be creating health and safety hazards. Slips, trips and falls cause thousands of injuries per year, so it’s best to make sure they won’t happen in your new office.

How to check for it

Make sure you measure out the amount of room you need in your office and that you account for any excess clutter that might be generated. Perhaps aim to get an office a little bigger than necessary or consider using an office storage service. When you do move into the new building, these great office storage ideas show you how to avoid clutter with style.

Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation

According to an in-depth survey funded by the US government, people spend on average 90% of their time indoors. This means it is vital to have good indoor air quality (IAQ) in an office. IAQ is not something people always think about, but it can actually the the cause of several health concerns.

If an office has poor ventilation, pollutants and contaminants can become stuck in the air, causing cold and flu-like symptoms in some cases, and helping the spread of more severe illnesses in others. Even on a smaller scale, stale air can lead to worker discomfort, which is not something you want in a new office.

How to check for it

The best way to check air quality is with an IAQ test. But if you’re only looking at offices in short visits, you will have to check by other methods. Simply looking at the air vents and checking for sources of indoor air pollution should be enough.

Fire Safe

On-premise fire hose

Making sure the office is fire safe may sound obvious, but it is still one of the most important things you have to look out for when moving to a new office. If an office doesn’t have a proper escape plan or route in place, there could be serious risk of death or injury in case of a fire.

How to check for it

The government’s Fire Safety Risk Assessment Guide details what you need to look out for when thinking about fire safety. Just check the electrical outlets in the office appear to be safe and working, and that the escape route for the office is clearly marked and safe to use.


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