Workplace Safety Tips
When someone says, “workplace safety” most of us would envision an industrial setting with concrete floors, huge machinery, assembly lines, fork trucks spinning around and so on. Actually, workplace safety applies to every work place, from the most posh offices to the dirtiest occupations.
We’ve put this list together keeping in mind many different types of work places, hoping you can relate and apply these Workplace Safety Tips. We would also love for you to comment on your experiences and share your ideas and/or questions to make all of our work places as safe as possible.
1) Be aware of your surroundings – Some of the most mundane situations can be hazardous when you are not taking that extra second to check your surroundings. You’re walking to the copier or to the supply room and reading something on the way, you step on a staple remover that fell on the floor or you run into someone in a rush to get to the restroom. These examples and many more can easily be avoided. While efficiency and multi-tasking are excellent qualities to possess and utilize, the pay-off is not worth the trouble when putting yourself and others in the line of injury. Whether you’re in a tight spot, under an intense deadline or repositioning your tools/equipment, take the few seconds to ensure hazards and/or people are not an issue. Those few seconds could keep you and others from lifelong injuries such as poking an eye out.
2) Use tools properly – Every tool, whether it seems as harmless as a pen or something that has the potential danger of a table saw, tools are designed for a particular purpose. For instance, don’t use scissors or screwdrivers as pry bars. Many people are injured by not using the proper tool for the job. Many times, the tool is available, just in an inconvenient location. Always take the few extra minutes to locate the proper tool(s) for the job.
3) Know your exits, exit routes, emergency meeting location and storm/tornado shelters – Sure we know where exits, stairwells, and basements are in our everyday work place and places we visit often, but when we’re somewhere new, do we look for alternative exits and shelter? Typically emergency exits and storm shelters are posted near elevators and main entrances. You can check the map and get your bearings. You can also observe your surroundings and take a few minutes to use the restroom, get some water and make note of the exits along the way. In other words, you can familiarize yourself without seeming paranoid. Making sure exits are clear and knowing where to go in an emergency situation will ensure that you will have the opportunity to be as safe as possible in the event of disaster.
4) Wear personal protective equipment or PPE – Are you one of those people who spend a lot of time at work and every so often you afford yourself the tiny luxury of taking your shoes off? Then you take a short walk in the hall thinking no one will notice? Aside from the possible professionalism in question, how about stepping on a thumb tack or staples. This happens more often than you think and now the expense is likely to be injury, bacteria, a tip to the doctor, and not to mention embarrassment. Maybe your job requires PPE such as safety glasses, steel toed shoes, gloves to protect against sharp edges, heat, or germs. Do you keep your PPE handy and in proper working order? Improper use of PPE can be as bad as not wearing it. PPE is your last line of defense from the hazards it protects against. Scars, sickness, and missing fingers can be avoided more often than not.
5) Proper housekeeping is essential – Keeping the work area clean, dry and obstacle free is as important as making the deal or getting the job done. Slips, trips and falls can be avoided by proper housekeeping. Make sure surfaces are dry, carpets and rugs are secure, store equipment, extension cords, and hoses when not in use, and pick up debris. These are basic steps you can take to keep the office and work area safe. Whether it’s a mop bucket, electric pencil sharpener or glass of water all unattended items quickly become obstacles and therefore potential hazards. When items are not in use, put them away. You’ll be happy you did!
6) Know the rules – Along with attending orientation and mandatory classes, pay attention, take notes and know where to get information. Knowing where to get information when necessary can save time, money and frustration. Whether it’s health, safety, security, or regulation knowing what to do, how to document, and how to communicate to the next person or shift could mean the difference of something as grand as getting the sale or as important as keeping someone from disease or injury. Ensure you know how to handle tasks, communication, and where to obtain further information when necessary.
7) Follow procedures, policies, regulations and guide lines – Chemicals. Blood and air borne pathogens. Cleaning supplies. Extinguishers. Information technology and security. Automation line control. Crowd control. Product stocking and stacking. Policies and procedures are put in place to protect product, information, customers, patients, environments and you! Although procedures many not always seem to be the best or most efficient way to do business, the repercussions when you do not follow the rules could cost time, money, quality, effort, reputation, job, and depending on the situation and severity possibly even health and life.
8) Be prepared for work – Life comes at us fast. No matter what, do the best you can to get rest and keep your head in the game. Distractions and fatigue are our occupations sworn enemies. No one wants a sleepy surgeon and we shouldn’t have to concern ourselves with whether or not the car we are interested in buying was built on a Monday or a Friday. Take a few minutes at the start of your work day or any project/task and breathe. Focus on getting through your duties as safely and successfully as possible. You will want to stay healthy to deal with the rest of what life offers.
9) Report unsafe conditions – When something is wrong, say something. It seems like we never have enough time. The time it takes to report issues, whatever amount of time that may be, could save the time it takes to clean up a flood, fix equipment, miss the deal/sale, and of course heal from accident and/or injury. Be aware of possible process improvement. When you are reporting an issue and you have a suggestion how to resolve the issue short or long term, offer your suggestion. If you see a co-worker performing in an unsafe manner, kindly let them know. They may not realize something is missing or there is a safe way to perform a task. Sharing ideas is a positive act and any responsible manager, management team, or team member will appreciate the fact that you are concerned and observant.
10) Off the job safety is important – Often times we forget that similar tasks we do at home and outside of work require the same focus, observance, and safety diligence we use at work. Driving, getting on and off the bus or the train. Consider all those obstacles. Slippery surfaces, people dropping their phones, gloves, hats, stepping in your path or into the street. You are planning to hang a picture. Should you go find your safety glasses? The answer is YES!!! Getting drywall dust and debris in your eyes happens so quickly when doing even the simplest of jobs.
We hope our tips and examples can help bring awareness into focus.
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Your Friends in Safety,
-All Risk Training