Workplace accidents are the way of life, something that just happens regardless of how careful or diligent you are. However, by being extra careful, you can minimize the chance of this and even ensure that, when the accident finally happens, the results are not nearly as catastrophic. Now, when it comes to overall workplace safety, the bulk of responsibility goes to the employer. Still, the employee bears their own share of responsibility and here are the top eight workplace safety tips that they need to abide by in order to make this system work.
1. Be mindful of your surroundings
One of the easiest ways to get hurt in the workplace is to lose sight of everything that’s surrounding you. You see, this not only puts you in danger but also those who are around you. Bumping someone and knocking over a work-related tool or material is just one of the possibilities. What if you’re working in a laboratory and knock over a dangerous chemical, acid or something similar? If you’re working with tools like torches, by placing them near a flammable material could end up having catastrophic repercussions for the workplace. In other words, start by paying attention to your surroundings.
2. Report a potential disaster
The collective safety in the workplace is your personal responsibility. Injuring yourself on purpose, just in order to get compensation is not just reckless and dishonest but also quite tricky. You can’t really control the amount of damage that will befall you, same as you can’t always control who is it that gets injured. By reporting the problem right away you’ll prevent it from ever taking place. Other than this, you need to keep in mind that a lot of workplaces actually have a near miss reporting system. This way, you can earn some extra credits with your employer or even actively earn a reward.
3. Take a break
A common mistake in the workplace is the scenario in which people avoid taking breaks in order to do more or simply because they “aren’t feeling the need to” at the moment. The problem with this lies in the fact that your attention gradually falls off, as time goes by. This means that even if you’re not feeling drowsy at the moment, the fatigue may catch up with you in 20 minutes and, by that time, the designated break may already be over. Sure, in some workplaces you can take breaks whenever you feel like it. In those scenarios, interval working might be a good idea.
4. Be comfortable with your equipment
Mishandling the equipment that you work with is a grievous sin that might just come to plague you in the future. This is particularly true for sophisticated lab equipment and similar precision items. Here, the problem isn’t just in the idea of causing a potential accident. It’s about destroying valuable materials and wasting time, as well. Why is this so important for safety? Well, because such things force you to rush, skip breaks and be far more reckless. Also, inefficiently using equipment may hurt you in the long-run, without you even noticing it.
5. Think about the long-term health
The next thing worth discussing is the fact that a lot of things affect your health negatively, in the long run, without you even being aware of it. For instance, being under a lot of stress is something that a lot of people can handle quite well but being exposed to such conditions on a regular basis might leave its toll on your psyche. Aside from this, issues like bad posture and poor eye-to-monitor angle are also issues that might deteriorate your health over the course of years. All in all, you need to learn how to put your health first.
6. Handling your PPE
The most important thing about the PPE is that you remember that it cannot protect you if you’re not wearing it. Sure, even if your employer provides you with absolutely every piece of personal protective equipment you need, it’s up to you to keep them on at all times, properly strap them and more. Other than this, you also need to bear in mind that PPE isn’t omnipotent. It is there to help keep you safe in most of the regular workplace scenarios. In a case where something unexpected happens, chances are that your PPE might not be able to cut it.
7. Use proper tools
Chances are that there’s a tool for everything in your workplace just waiting to be properly used. The biggest problem with this issue lies in the fact that a lot of people believe that they can do things more quickly if they “wing it”. This means that they try to carry by hand something that they should clearly load on the trolley or grab with bare hand something that they should use pliers on. Overall, these kinds of accidents are the easiest to avoid, just make sure that you do everything by the book and avoid cutting corners.
8. Know your legal rights
In the ideal world, no employer would ever ask you to do something dangerous, something that you’re not trained for. This is something that you have the right to refuse, especially if it doesn’t go into your job description. Other than this, there are some employers who try to goad employees into doing things that they’re not comfortable with under a threat of termination. Lastly, when the injury finally does occur, there are some who consult against making a report or, worse yet, suggest that you should tamper with the evidence in order not to put the employer in the bad spot. By knowing your legal rights you’ll be able to avoid all of this.
The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that there’s no such thing as a 100 per cent safe work environment. You can have a construction site that goes months without an incident and an office where injuries occur on a monthly basis. The key thing lies in doing all you can in order to elevate the level of safety. With the above-listed eight tips on your side, you might be able to do just that.