Fact Sheet

Office Activities

The nature of office activities depends on the size, structure and mission of the nonprofit. If the nonprofit offers one-on-one client services, then the office will need to have a reception area, conference rooms, and other administrative areas.

Nature of the Hazard

The introduction of individuals (clients) who are not necessarily familiar with the building or the office routine can create safety issues. Also, if the clients are disabled or frail elderly, then mobility or sight impairment could exacerbate these safety issues. Use of restrooms or kitchen facilities by clients can pose problems if safety practices are not in place. If clients or members of the public come to the reception area to either make donations or payment for goods and services, then money-handling could present safety and security issues. Staff members need to understand the safety practices associated with all office activities. Activities such as mail and package delivery, filing, computer usage, and storage can pose safety hazards if these activities are not in keeping with safety recommendations.

Recommendations

The layout of the office should be evaluated to ensure that clients have adequate reception area/waiting room space, and access to those areas appropriate to a visitor, such as restrooms. Safety recommendations and requirements should be either posted or clearly explained to clients and/or members of the public. If money is exchanged in the reception area or over a counter, then procedures need to be put in place to safeguard these transactions and the people involved. Protocols should be in place for receiving mail and packages and alerting authorities immediately if suspicious mail or packages  are delivered.

Resource

Oliver, Barbara B., Managing Facility Risk — 10 Steps to Safety, Nonprofit Risk Management Center, Washington, DC, 2004

Office Activities Checklist