Workplace safety shouldn’t be something that has to be highlighted, but something that is unquestionable in the modern business world.
However, this is still a serious topic for small and large businesses and organisations.
It’s more than written rules and regulations that every employer and employee should know. Workplace safety is all about respecting those standards in practice and everyday duties. Employees should be encouraged to help their managers and employers identify the threats and implement safety measures.
With mutual effort, all involved in the work process can participate in creating a safe working environment. Here are some safety tips you should follow in order to help, respect and improve safety at your workplace.
1. Know your surroundings
Every job has its own hazards. When you get certain position make sure that you are aware of all the safety issues it carries. Learning about possible risks and being able to recognize new ones will only help you do your job better.
When you work with equipment and machinery, check their surroundings. Some signs of potential danger may not be obvious and you have to make sure that everything is in order. If necessary, read the manuals and make sure that all conditions recommended by the manufacturer are respected to the letter.
You should perform the same safety observations when you work in the office at your desk. For example, sunlight can damage your eyesight, a bad chair can cause back problems or inappropriate flooring can cause people to slip and fall. Identifying potential hazardous areas will prevent possible injuries and life-threatening situations.
2. Go on breaks
As we mentioned before, your employer is not the only one responsible for your workplace safety. You have to take care of yourself and your health while doing tasks and activities, too. One of the causes of injuries is working long hours without taking an appropriate amount of breaks.
Even for someone working an 8-hour shift, taking breaks is very important. It will clear your mind and stretch your muscles. This way you will come back to workstation more relaxed and concentrated. This is especially important when you work with machinery since slips of attention can cause injuries to you and your colleagues.
Also, there are many illnesses connected to tiredness and exhaustion. You may not experience some right away, but they can appear later in life. You can do the hardest tasks and duties when your shift starts because then you are the most alerted. Or you can simply use reminders and apps to take breaks at certain times, so you can stay on top of your game.
3. Keep emergency exits clear
In case of fire or any other hazardous situation when employees have to vacate the building, they will have to use emergency exits. First of all, it’s a legal obligation to have emergency exits in the building and place the map to evacuate in the visible place.
All exits must be cleared of any items so that they're not blocked and allow an easy path to the safety for every person. Making sure that these exits are clear and operational is a job of the manager responsible for safety. However, it is also the responsibility of every employee to keep these exits clear and not place items near them.
4. Handling complaints
Workplace safety is an important issue for everyone involved in the work processes. Sometimes, pointing out to possible hazards is not as easy as may seem. Neither is resolving disagreements about this topic. In order to avoid legal proceedings which cost money both parties, you should address the HR department.
If they can’t resolve the issue, they will most likely hire workplace mediation services to help them resolve conflict. The most important thing is to stay clear-headed and behave in a reasonable and civilized manner. Whether it's the employer or employee the one who raises the issue, all matters must be resolved to benefit the workplace safety. And mediators, as an independent party, will assess the complaint objectively and impartially.
5. Wear safety equipment and use appropriate tools
One of the imperatives of maintaining workplace safety is respecting the rules on how to operate certain equipment. Besides the user manual, some machinery also requires that you use appropriate protective suits, equipment and tools. Avoiding to abide by these rules can cause serious damage to your health, like inhaling toxic chemicals or radiation. Environments where people work at the desk or don't use heavy machinery also require certain care and attention. For example, a faulty computer monitor can damage your eyesight or try to repair the equipment by yourself.
Never underestimate the time and exposure to certain environments and make sure that you respect all the safety measures in place. This way you will preserve your health and make sure that you and other employees are safe from potential harm.
It's the obligation of employers and managers to present the safety measures and rules to their employees. From then on, everyone present at the workplace must respect them and improve outdated ones when needed. Not only will the employees feel respected and thus be more productive, but also every life will be carted for.
Neil White is a student of a digital marketing, who likes to travel a lot. While you are reading this he is probably somewhere other than where he was yesterday.