Your Complete Guide to Workplace Safety: What to Look for and How to Deal With Them

Workplace safety is important for many reasons. Every employee that clocks into a physical building expects to work in a safe and protected environment. Employers have a responsibility to make sure all of their employees are in a safe working environment. While employees need to adhere to workplace rules and regulations, management also needs to make sure that every employee is notified about any workplace changes, what to do in case of a work accident and how to go about informing their superiors. Employees should have a copy of any workplace rules, and it should be signed as it protects the employer in the long run. However, employers could also allow their employees to take part in the planning of their safety by introducing a job hazard analysis template. For your safety, here is a complete guide to workplace safety; what to look for and how to deal with them.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Follow the proper procedures
  • Take breaks regularly
  • Protect your back by keeping the correct posture
  • Makes sure to properly use machines and tools
  • Keep emergency exits easily accessible
  • Report unsafe conditions immediately to your supervisor
  • Wear correct safety equipment
  • Whenever possible use mechanical aids
  • Reduce stress in the workplace
  • Stay sober
  • Take responsibility for your mess
  • Report serious injuries quickly

ALWAYS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Be aware of your surroundings at your workplace and that could mean knowing hazardous areas and areas that you should steer clear of unless you’re authorized to be in certain areas to keep you and your co-workers safe. If you’re walking around a warehouse, make sure you are dressed properly and that you have on the proper steel toe shoes. Be aware of any boxes or anything that may be stored up high so that when you walk by there is no threat of something falling on you.

FOLLOW THE PROPER PROCEDURES

Generally, there are rules and instructions around the workplace. Make sure to follow those rules, as they are there for a reason. If you don’t follow the procedures that have been put up, you’re putting your safety at risk.

TAKE BREAKS REGULARLY

Taking regular breaks can keep you from getting fatigued. Many workplace injuries occur simply because an employer is tired and burnt out. Getting a break to get some water or get fresh air can make you feel fresher and alert. It can also relieve tension from your back, eyes and your hands. When you strain your eyes from looking at the computer too much, you may get a tension headache, your back can start to ache when sitting for long periods of time and you can develop carpal tunnel in your hands from typing too much and typing the wrong way. Stretch your muscles and get up and walk around for a bit. You will feel much better throughout the day.

PROTECT YOUR BACK BY KEEPING THE CORRECT POSTURE

Many employees suffer back issues, they can suffer from issues with their hands i.e. carpal tunnel, etc. So it would behoove an employee to sit correctly, and if possible use ergonomic furniture to help you with your posture and the way you position your hands and wrist when you are constantly typing. Avoid lifting heavy things, twisting and bending incorrectly. Bending and picking up anything incorrectly can lead to you damaging your back. You may want to consider wearing a back brace during your time at work.

MAKE SURE TO PROPERLY USE MACHINES AND TOOLS

When using tools, take the appropriate safeguards, and never skirt around safety. Trying to circumvent and take shortcuts is one of the top reasons for injury in the workplace. When using platforms as a ladder or by trying to use certain devices to substitute the proper device when doing a specific job is an enormous safety risk. When you use your workplace instruments the proper way, you reduce your chances of injuries in the workplace significantly. At the end of the day, it isn’t worth your health to take any kind of short cuts whatsoever.

KEEP EMERGENCY EXITS EASILY ACCESSIBLE

When in the workplace, make sure all the emergency exits are free and clear of clutter. Everyone needs to be able to access those exits in case of an emergency. If the exits are not clear, that’s a huge risk to employees. If a fire breaks out, or another emergency, trying to make time to clear those exits will mean you won’t have sufficient time to exit the premises. You will also need to make sure that you have good access to shut off any kind of equipment that could pose any kind of threat in an emergency. You never know what’s in your office equipment nor do you know if they could explode if the environment of the office changes.

REPORT UNSAFE CONDITIONS IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR SUPERVISOR

It’s your duty as an employee to report any unsafe working conditions that you see. If your employer doesn’t know about unsafe working conditions that you or another co-worker may have seen and you don’t report it, they can’t do anything about them. If you’re walking around the office and see anything unsafe, make a list and present it to your employer so they can get on top it immediately.

WEAR CORRECT SAFETY EQUIPMENT

You have to be sure that you’re wearing the proper safety gear for whatever job you’re doing. If you’re not wearing the proper gear, there’s a chance that you may get injured in the process. All depending on the job, you may need to wear safety goggles, hardhats, steel toe boots or gloves. If you’re working around chemicals, you’ll need to be extra careful as certain chemicals are hazardous and can burn your skin or your eyes if you aren’t wearing the proper clothing or face masks.

WHENEVER POSSIBLE USE MECHANICAL AIDS

If there are heavy boxes and other things that need to be lifted, use the proper mechanical aids so that you’ll have support. If there is a forklift on the premises or a crank and even a conveyor belt, make sure that you or someone who is qualified to use the machinery can do so. Do not try to perform any task unless you’ve been properly trained to do so. If you haven’t that’s an invitation to injury. Always be sure to get proper training for whatever job you’re doing to reduce your chances of being injured.

REDUCE STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE

If a worker is stressed out that can lead to all kinds of mental issues; i.e. depression and you may have concentration issues. Many of these reasons are caused by working a lot of overtime, an excessive amount of work and even some thoughts of insecurities when it comes to your job. If you have a good relationship with your supervisor, have a talk with him/her and share your concerns. After all, we are human and our body will only allow us to do so much, so we need to take care of ourselves in the process otherwise we can’t take care of anything else. Most workplaces have onsite medical clinics for the employee and they even have gyms. Take advantage and get a good workout.

STAY SOBER

Staying sober on the job sounds a little weird, right? Well, many workplace accidents are due to alcohol and drugs believe it or not. When an employer can’t use the proper judgment to be alert and use their coordination, they are putting not only themselves at risk but their co-workers as well.

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR MESS

Many people in the workplace make messes and some fail to either clean It up or report it to housekeep/janitors. For instance, if you spill a liquid or something, make sure to wipe it up or tell someone who can get the spillage cleaned up. If another co-worker falls and slips where you’ve spilled something, they could be injured badly. Take responsibility for any messes you make so others aren’t put at risk.

REPORT SERIOUS INJURIES QUICKLY

If you do happen to get hurt at work, it is your duty to report it immediately so your employer can make a report and get your proper medical attention. If you don’t report it, it may be harder to report it later on down the lone and they will wonder why you didn’t report it in the first instance. If you plan on using your employer or having them pay medical bills and you didn’t report it when your injury first occurred, you may have a hard time proving it later on down the line.

When employers put safety programs into place, it creates a positive and productive work environment. It protects the employer as well as the employee and it also reduces business cost. When the workplace is kept up to par and up to safety standards; and by that I mean cleanliness as well, the absenteeism drops and the employees are happier. Always remember that safety is a team effort for everyone involved.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.