Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their members of staff. A business’ car park can often be forgotten about when it comes to safety and maintenance as it is after all outside of the building. However, it can have a big impact on your business in terms of health and safety and employee satisfaction. Under the health and safety at work Act 1974 car park owners and operators have a duty to ensure carparks are safe to use and this includes employers. It is important to include the car park in your risk assessment in order to reduce any risk of accident or injury to your employees and not put your business at risk of expensive damage claims.
Car parks can hazardous places as there is so much going on, especially at peak times. There are pedestrians and vehicles all in one place and it can be difficult to slow down if you’re going too fast. This is why it is essential to have an enforced speed limit or at least notices to slow down in car parks. A benefit of having a specific staff car park means that you can inform employees of speed concerns in the car park. Consider putting up signs which tell vehicles to slow down in the car park as a way of enforcing a slower speed if you can’t enforce a speed limit.
Car parks without clear signposting are a risk to pedestrians and vehicles. Without clear signposting cars will drive in all directions unsure where to go and it can cause more congestion at peak times. Having clear signposting on entrances and exits to the car park as well as pedestrian walkways and arrows as to how vehicles should move around the car park can help with safety and congestion concerns and make the car park a safer and more manageable place.
Visibility is essential in a car park for both vehicles and pedestrians. It is important to make sure lighting is properly placed and up to standards in a car park especially for when the mornings and evenings are dark, or employees are working late. When visibility is poor it can be an enormous safety risk, it will make it difficult for vehicles to see pedestrians and other hazards. Visibility doesn’t only refer to lighting but also placement of signs and posts or pillars. It is important to ensure people can see properly when parking and leaving the car park in order to prevent risks and accidents.
When designing a car park, it is important to take into account distances. Distance refers to distance between parking spaces, walkways and distance to the workplace. It is important to ensure there is enough space for cars to park and reverse safely as well as pedestrians be able to walk from their cars safely and without hassle. In terms of employee satisfaction, it is important to try make the distance from the car park to the building as short as possible; something which should be considered when designing or redesigning the car park.
With workplace car parks it is likely there will be a lot of congestion at peak times which can cause hazards for vehicles and pedestrians as well as employee dissatisfaction. There are a few ways to address issues of congestion. First of all, making sure you have a designed route around the car park can help as it stops people cutting off others or unnecessary traffic. One-way systems tend to work quite well in car parks and ease congestion. If possible, it could be beneficial to consider staggered working hours if congestion is a real problem for your business. This would help significantly reduce congestion in the car park.
Sufficient Parking Spaces
For growing businesses especially there can be the issue of not having sufficient car parking spaces available. The first and more obvious solution to this is to create more spaces however, more often than not, this is not possible. Instead, there are ways to manage the car parking spaces; consider working on a reservation basis. If people have designated car parking it reduces the risk of people not being able to park when they arrive to work; those you don’t have a space will already know this and make alternate arrangements. Working on a deposit scheme and a first come first served basis is possibly the best way to manage this.
Whilst safety is essential all year round, there are more hazards which may occur seasonally; more so in the winter months when rain and snow is more likely. There are a number of things to consider in the colder months. Firstly, rain and fallen leaves can make for a slippery surface which could cause potential accidents and hide hazards, so it is important to regularly remove the fallen leaves. Similarly, fallen twigs and branches can be a trip hazard for pedestrians and can damage vehicles. When it is especially cold, and ice and snow is a risk make sure to correctly grit your car park.
Car Park Maintenance
Maintaining your car park is essential for safety. If it is not properly maintained this can produce potentially hazardous conditions. You should resurface your car park as necessary and regularly repair potholes to avoid damage to vehicles. In addition to this it is important to white line or hatch parking spaces for proper visibility.
MSL is on hand to provide proper car park maintenance to ensure that your facility is safe both inside and out. For more information on how MSL can help, contact us on 0333 1234450.