Nonprofits work hard to responsibly steward resources and maximize their budgets. Low-budget spaces can introduce safety and health issues that if not addressed can adversely affect employees, volunteers, and clients. Never postpone or compromise on work related to identified safety and health issues.
Challenges related to low-budget spaces may include:
- Facility maintenance
- Electrical outlets
- Egress and exit routes
Possible actions to take really depend on the space your organization is occupying. The following suggestions are offered as a starting place.
- Electricity: Look at how extension cords are used throughout the workspace. Put surge protectors in place to minimize the chance of an electrical fire.
- Space heaters/candles: Make sure space heaters and candles are clear of anything that could catch fire, such as curtains or paper. Consider having no candles in the office as part of your safety policies.
- Egress: Create scenarios that involve people needing to escape quickly from different places of your workspace. Walk through how they would escape, making sure there are no barriers or fall hazards in the way.
- Tight spaces: Consider the ergonomic impacts of desks crammed into a small space. Do people have room to move around? If appropriate, consider options such as remote work to ease space constraints.
- OSHA Working Safely with Electricity Factsheet
- L&I Electrical Safety Standards, Administration, and Installation
- The Nonprofit Safety and Health Checklist provided in the Nonprofit Safety and Health Starter Materials section of the guide includes a detailed checklist on structural and systems-related issues to look for in your space.
Download the Low-Budget Spaces Resource to share at your next safety committee meeting, safety meeting, or board meeting.