10 Important Tips for Workplace Safety
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- Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Get familiar with the particular areas of your job or workplace. Once you’ve learned and observed all areas, then identify the possible risks. By doing this, you will be able to keep clear of potential hazardous areas, and potential hazardous situations. Never overlook a possible hazardous situation.
2. Keep Correct Posture To Protect Your Back and Avoid Back Injuries
If you like many other people sit for long periods of time at your desk, then it’s very important to force yourself to get up from your chair as much as your work environment will permit. You can also practice the following, sit straight and keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid back problems. Sitting loads the spine and compresses the disks, leading to possibly developing disk problems. Slaving over a computer for long periods of time can also cause you to develop posture problems, such as neck problems and kyphosis.
If you’re picking things up, use correct form so your back doesn’t get hurt. Avoid stooping and twisting. If possible, always use ergonomic design furniture and safety equipment so everything you need is within easy reach.
3. Use Tools and Machines Properly
Take the proper precautions and follow instructions and training provided. The leading cause of workplace injuries is employees taking shortcuts to operate tools and machines. It’s a huge safety risk to use scaffolding as a ladder or one tool in place of another for a specific job. Proper procedures should always be followed whenever handling machines and any type of tools to reduce the chances of workplace injury.
4. Report Unsafe Conditions To Your Department Manager or Supervisor
Your department manager or supervisor needs to be informed immediately about any workplace safety risks or hazards. They are obligated to ensure each employees they are responsible for has a safe working environment. They must take care of and resolve any unsafe conditions and make them safe for you and all co-workers.
5. Use The Correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Each industry has its own tasks and hazard and will require different types of PPE. If you’re not wearing the correct PPE for a task, you may get injured. Depending on the job you perform, equipment like safety googles, gloves, earmuffs, earplugs, face mask, or hard hats, greatly reduce the risk of having a workplace injury.
PPE is not used to control the hazard, instead it is used to limit the exposure to the harmful effects of the hazard.
6. Preventing Heat Stress
According to The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. Heat related problems are responsible for claiming the lives of around 4,000 in the U.S. per year, especially affecting the very young and old. It also affects people with diseases such as diabetes, and those working in the heat.
Heat problems are categorized in various forms, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the most severe, heatstroke. These conditions are better known as heat stress. Implement any of the following measurements to prevent Heat Stress:
- Pre-hydrate. Before you start any activity, drink up to 16 ounces of fluid. Continue drinking 8 ounces every 20 minutes throughout the activity.
- Drink flavored water but with low amounts of sugar. Plain water quenches thirst too quickly, so workers tend to not drink enough of it.
- Take breaks in cooler, shaded areas and take regular breaks. Use fans or air conditioning to stay cool. Vented hardhats or neckbands drenched in cold water can be used to minimize extended heat exposure and prevent the body from overheating.
- Wear your PPE no matter what the temperature. It can’t protect you if it’s not on you. If it’s uncomfortable, take frequent breaks.
- Acclimate to the heat slowly, over 5 to 7 days of exposure. For new workers, institute a 20 percent increase of time in the heat for each day. Workers already used to these conditions can increase exposure slightly faster, but 4 days out of the heat means re-acclimation will be needed.
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitted, thin and breathable clothing, as recommended by OSHA. Try to stay away from using synthetic clothing as they hinder evaporation of sweat.
- Implement a “buddy system” to monitor other workers’ conditions.
7. Keep Emergency Exits Easily and Readily Accessible
In the event of an emergency, the fastest way out is through the emergency exit. It’s very important to learn where the nearest exits are at your workplace. As a general practice, it is recommended to keep all emergency exits clear of obstructions (i.e. furniture, equipment, door locks), to ensure a fast evacuation whenever necessary.
Do not obstruct alarms or fire extinguishers. It is also very important to have scheduled fire drills at your workplace and train your employees on what to do in the event of an emergency. All this information should be implemented in your company’s Emergency & Evacuation Workplace Plan.
8. Report All Incidents and Near Misses
No matter how small the injury, report it to your supervisor or manager, including near misses. A near miss could possibly be the next accident. All injuries must be reported immediately and an assessment of the injured employee must be made to ensure proper medical attention is given, if it is necessary. Accident and incident reporting makes the workplace safer.
9. Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
A slip, trip or fall could happen to anybody at their workplace. But more importance must be given to any of this type of accidents, as they can lead to a variety of unfortunate events ranging from a simple bruises, to more severe injuries.
As indicated by the United States Department of Labor, slips, trips and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents, which account for more than 95 million lost work days per year, about 65 percent of all work days lost.
The following are some things you can implement at your workplace to prevent these types of accidents.
- Wear adequate shoes. Shoes with good support and slip-resistant soles.
- Create and implement good housekeeping practices that maintain your establishment always clean and well organized. This will ensure an effective safety program is in place.
- Maintain all work areas, hallways, storerooms, service areas and offices clean and organized.
- Always display “WET FLOOR” signs as necessary to prevent slips and falls.
- Encourage office employees to keep safe work practices by closing file cabinet drawers and picking up loose items from the floor, such as boxes or briefcases.
- Never stand on a chair, table, any uneven surfaces or other surfaces with wheels.
- Conduct periodic inspections for slip and trip hazards.
- Maintaining parking garages and sidewalks clean and in good repair conduct.
- Implement moisture-absorbent mats with beveled edges in entrance areas when it rains.
- Contact your cleaning department to clean up spills immediately. If they will take too long to clean the affected area, be a good team player and so ahead and clean it.
- Arrange furniture to provide open walking areas.
- Always remove tripping hazards, such as boxes, books, files, cables, string cords from walkways.
- Periodically check lighting both indoors and outdoors areas.
10. Conducting Safety Training
The success of your safety program is a result of the implementation of proper safety training for your company. Remember, “Safety is everyone’s responsibility”. Safety training must be conducted regularly to ensure all safety procedures are being followed according to your industry.
Things to consider when implementing your Safety Training:
- Begin providing this type of training after you hire any employee to your organization. You can implement this process in your Orientation session.
- Conduct retraining sessions, monthly, quarterly, yearly.
- Ensure the management team conducting these session, are effective, knowledgeable and experienced trainers to get the best results of your training program.
- Schedule training sessions in advance to give plenty of time for your department managers to schedule attendance each employee.
- Make training fun and encourage participation from your employees. Use hands-on training, whenever necessary.
- Explain areas that will be covered during the session.
- Have handouts and visual aids to cater to different learning styles.
We hope you have enjoyed the information received and have leaned new tips on Workplace Safety. Our goal is that this information is very useful for your organization and your team.
Do not hesitate to contact us should you need assistance reviewing your existing Workplace Safety program or creating a new. We are here to support you and your organization’s success.
Our Mission is to create Endless Possibilities and deliver Stunning Results!
1BC Consulting, Inc.
Address: 8400 NW 36th Street, Suite 450
Doral, FL 33166