ASK RENATA

I would like to know how many people we can accommodate in our office space, which measures 500 square metres.

Our Office Space webpage provides information to HSRs, and WorkSafe also publishes Officewise, a risk management approach to promote health and safety in offices.

The Officewise guide divides floor space into three categories in chapter 4, page 32:

  • Primary space: amenities, meeting rooms, lift lobbies, and similar areas
  • Secondary space: corridors and storage
  • Tertiary space: space required in a workstation to accommodate a desk, chair, drawers, filing cabinet, and other necessary equipment.

It quotes the relevant Australian Standard, AS 1668.2 (2002), which recommends an overall 10 square meters per person for offices, including primary, secondary, and tertiary spaces. Applying that standard to your work environment results in a maximum capacity of 50 people.

The Guide also references the Building Block Method, which recommends a minimum of 6 square meters per person for tertiary space. This may be useful if a disproportionate amount of space is taken up with primary and secondary spaces, and workers are crammed into small cubicles.

Of course, knowing your rights is only half the battle. Workers need to have the power to enforce their rights under the law and the principles of health and safety, in a way that maintains a good working relationship with our employer. We strongly encourage workers to contact their Union for expert advice and assistance. Your Union employs experienced officials who can provide support and representation, should you require it.

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