Workplace safety is an important part of any job and requires that everyone in the company adhere to the safety guidelines and policies in place. Carefully following appropriate safety guidelines can go a long way toward preventing workplace injuries. Here are some ways you can work to stay safe on the job.
Always be alert to what’s happening in your surroundings; remember that your safety is your responsibility. Understand the particular hazards related to your job or workplace, and keep clear of potentially hazardous areas or situations. Be awake and attentive on the job, and be particularly aware of machinery. Avoid going to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which can compromise your concentration, coordination, judgment, motor control and alertness.
Maintain Correct Posture
Use correct posture to protect your back while at work. If you sit at a desk, keep your shoulders and hips in line and avoid hunching over. Use correct form when lifting objects and avoid twisting and stooping. The following tips provide information about lifting correctly:
- Use both hands to lift or carry a heavy object.
- Adopt a proper lifting stance by putting the strain on your legs, keeping your back straight and not bending at the waist.
- Wear a back brace for heavy work.
- Test the weight before picking up the item.
- Lift items smoothly and slowly.
- Move your feet instead of your back when traveling or turning with a heavy object.
- Hold the load close to your body.
- Ask for help to move loads that are too heavy for you.
Take Breaks Regularly
Feeling tired and burned out makes you less likely to be aware of your surroundings and is a common cause of workplace injuries. Regular breaks help you stay fresh and alert on the job. It is particularly important to take short breaks when you have a task that requires repetitive movements over a long period of time.
Use Equipment Properly
Always take the proper precautions when operating machinery or using tools. Taking shortcuts is a leading cause of workplace injuries. Use the appropriate tool for the job, and use it in the right way. When using tools and machinery, put safety first with the following tips:
- Only use machinery you are trained and authorized to use.
- Keep tools clean and in good working order.
- Organize tools and always return them to their proper place.
- Make sure the machine operator sees you, don’t approach from a blind spot or from behind.
- Only perform tasks you have been properly trained to perform.
- Never leave machinery unattended while it is running.
- Always obey operating instructions.
- Never remove or tamper with safety guards.
- If something seems wrong, immediately stop the machine and get assistance.
- Communicate with those around you.
- Never walk in front of heavy equipment.
- Read and follow all labels and instructions.
- Don’t tamper with hazardous items, including cords, switches and electric controls.
- Wear appropriate and compact clothing; loose, billowing clothing and accessories can easily get caught in moving parts.
- Never place fingers or other objects into moving machinery.
- Turn off equipment before moving, cleaning, adjusting, oiling or un-jamming.
Locate Emergency Exits
Always know where emergency exits are located and keep the path to them clear. You should also have clear access to emergency shutoffs on machinery.
Report Safety Concerns
If you notice a potential safety hazard or risk, report it to your supervisor immediately so they can address the situation. Keep communication lines open and work as a team to create a safe working environment.
Practice Effective Housekeeping
Maintain a clean and organized workplace environment. Make housekeeping an ongoing project that everyone is involved in and keep these tips in mind:
- Prevent trips, slips and falls by keeping all floors clean and dry.
- Eliminate fire hazards by removing combustible materials and storing flammable materials away from sources of ignition.
- Control dust accumulation.
- Avoid tracking materials and cross contamination by keeping mats clean and having separate cleaning protocols for different areas.
- Use appropriate procedures to prevent falling objects.
- Keep the workplace clutter free.
- Store all materials and equipment properly.
- Regularly inspect tools and personal protective equipment to make sure they are in good working order.
Make Use of Mechanical Aids
Take the extra time to obtain a wheelbarrow, crank, conveyor belt, forklift or other mechanical aid to assist you in lifting heavy objects. Attempting to lift something that is too heavy can cause injuries that could have been avoided.
Reduce Workplace Stress
Stress can contribute to difficulty concentrating and depression, which make it hard to be alert at work. There are many causes of stress at work including conflicts with others, heavy workloads, long hours and job insecurity. If you are experiencing workplace stress, talk to your supervisor about ways to address your concerns.
Use Appropriate Safety Equipment
It is important to use the proper safety equipment for a task to help protect yourself from injury:
- Wear appropriate clothing and shoes for your job.
- Know the location of fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
- Use a hard hat if there is a risk of falling objects.
- Wear gloves when handling toxic substances or sharp objects.
- Wear goggles when there is a hazard to your eyes.
- Use safety harnesses if there is a danger of falling.
- Wear non-skid shoes when working on slippery surfaces or lifting heavy objects.
- Wear a breathing mask.
- Use all protective equipment intended for your task including seat belts, protective headgear or clothing and safety glasses.
Creating an environment that is safe is the responsibility of everyone; do your part by following safety guidelines and policies. If you are injured on the job, notify your supervisor immediately and get assistance. Avoid taking risks when it comes to safety, be aware and do your part to maintain a safe workplace environment. If you’ve been injured on the job, call to schedule an appointment to see how our team of specialists can help to get you feeling better and back to work!