Article from one of our newest contributors in the UK
Are your office plants a health and safety danger?
We all like to give our office a bit of greenery with the help of a plant or two. It helps to brighten the place up and create a relaxing, productive workplace. From big palm trees and water features to small desktop venus fly traps, everyone will have their own ideas of what really helps to spruce up the office.
However, before getting those plants in place, it pays to think about health and safety for a minute. While a potted plant can look pretty innocuous, it can actually be quite dangerous if you don’t think about it properly. You may even need to use health and safety signs to ensure people are aware of how to treat the plant – or that they don’t trip over it.
Choose your site wisely
The area of your office that you place your plant will be key to its health and safety. For a start, you’ll want to place it somewhere where it isn’t a tripping hazard, or where people can easily bump into it. Spots near doors, especially fire exits are a no-no. And anywhere that could restrict access in an emergency should be avoided. Also think about how plants need watering from time to time, so you’ll want to make sure they’re not near any electrical equipment, wires or power points.
Think about growth
Do your research and find out your plant’s growth potential. What starts out as a simple decorative plant can quickly need serious attention – and branches and foliage could really start to get in the way.
If you work in an office full of hayfever sufferers, you may not want to buy in certain types of flowers. You should also check for any other allergies suffered by people in your office – never assume that everyone will be fine with your exotic choices.
Could health and safety signs help?
You may find that getting health and safety signs could give you extra peace of mind when it comes to putting plants in office. Of course, it’d be a bit excessive to buy high quality information signs for small desktop plants, but if they’re bigger and more prominent, you may want to warn people not to touch if the leaves can cause irritation. You may also want to invest in signs that inform people that plants are heavy – this may well stop them from trying to move the containers and consequently injuring themselves.