Whenever we start a new job, there are a lot of things to think about. We think about the work that we will be doing, our compensation and benefits, and the people that we will be working with. One thing that may not immediately come to mind, however, is safety in the workplace.
Workplace safety is very important. It protects both employees and employers from potentially serious injuries or even death. Accidents and injuries can also be very costly in terms of medical bills, lost hours and litigation in some instances.
To help create a safer work atmosphere, more companies are offering workplace safety training for their employees on a regular basis. Some trainings are mandated by local rules and regulations, and others are offered as proactive measures by companies.
Here are some general workplace safety tips that apply to employees at any kind in business:
1. Stay up to date on safety procedures
Companies will periodically release new safety updates, usually when there are new machines added to the workspace or when trainings are updated. Take some time to familiarize yourself with any new equipment that you may be using and take any necessary training classes. Being prepared can help prevent future accidents.
2. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings
Whenever you start a new job or move to a new work location, make sure that you are aware of any potential hazards. Forklifts, heavy machinery or other objects are things to keep an eye out for on a regular basis. Knowing what to look out for can really help reduce the chances of an accident or injury. You may also want to make recommendations to your manager on any ways that you think might make for a safer work environment.
3. Use equipment properly
Certain jobs require the use of machinery and tools to make daily tasks easier. They can be dangerous, however, if used improperly. Make sure that you know how to use each piece of equipment, and use them only for their intended functions. Read instruction manuals if they are available, and pay close attention to your supervisor’s instructions. Playing around with power tools or other things can hurt you or other coworkers.
4. Take your breaks
Every employer is mandated by law to allow their employees to take breaks depending on the number of hours that they work in a day. Take all breaks that you are required to take every day that you’re on the job. You’ll need that mental step to break away from your workspace, and it allows you time to refresh so that you can return to your assigned tasks feeling more alert and ready to concentrate on what you need to do.
5. Have good posture
Having a good posture at work helps a lot. Slouching or slumping can not only hurt your back, but can lead to a loss of productivity. If you frequently lift heavy boxes or similar items at your job, make sure that you are bending your hips and knees appropriately and are not twisting or turning your body while you are lifting. If you work a desk job, make sure that the chair you are sitting in fully supports your back, hip and legs.
6. Know where the emergency exits are
In case of an accident or inclement weather, you need to know where to go. Most companies conduct annual drills so that every employee knows the location of every emergency exit, and where to go in these situations. If there is a fire in the building, tornado or other similar instance, you may not have much time to react. Knowing what to do beforehand can help save lives.
7. Handle stress appropriately
Stress is something we all have to deal with at times. It can lead to depression, anxiety and a lack of interest in what we’re doing. We can sometimes feel burned out or unappreciated. When we’re stressed, we may forget important details. These mistakes can sometimes lead to serious accidents or injuries. If you need to take time off, then plan accordingly. We all need mental and physical breaks occasionally. If you are dealing with a difficult deadline or are having issues with a coworker, talk to your manager about your concerns to find potential solutions so that you can get your job done efficiently and effectively.
These are just some of the more popular ways to help reduce and avoid workplace accidents. They don’t take a lot of time or effort. Just use common sense and talk to your management personnel when necessary. Workplace safety helps create a more productive and positive environment for you and everyone else that you work with.