Occupational health and safety is perhaps one of the most important elements that every employee should focus on. Such emphasis is essential, as workplace safety touches on issues of importance which define the ability of the employees to avoid common workplace injuries and potential hazards. Whereas most workplaces have put in place measures and systems to enforce workplace safety regulations, it is the responsibility of the individual employee to get acquainted with the various safety precautions that should be followed in the workplace.
Part of most workplaces safety regulations stipulates that workers comp can only apply if all safety measures are followed. To minimize the prospects of workplace injury, the employees are also required to uphold the safety standards. Here are some of the common yet critical safety precautions that every employee should know and uphold.
Know the Safety Risks of Your Workplace
The first important step in creating a safe working environment is for every employee to understand the limits and risks of the working environment. Understanding the working conditions is paramount, as the employee will get to know the safety issues that are particularly prominent in the area and how to possibly avert them by upholding the right safety requirements. Every workplace has its own set of safety issues. A construction site, for instance, is highly prone to falling or getting hit by objects. In a warehouse, workers need to take care when stacking and storing inventory to prevent collapsing loads, which could cause crushing, pinning, and trip-and-fall accidents. If you are cutting down trees or working in landscaping, understand how ladders work and that there may be holes that you don’t notice. This is as opposed to a meat factory where a worker would be more at risk of getting cut by sharp objects. Understanding the risks that the workplace poses ensures that workers can take the right safety measures to ensure self-protection.
The Use of Proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
With an understanding of the safety issues, an employee should know of how to achieve self-protection through the use of appropriate PPE. PPE comprises safety gear which puts the employee away from the common risks of getting injured critically. Different worksites demand the use of different and appropriate worksite PPE. It is therefore crucial for the worker to know how to use the appropriate PPE and how to wear it at all times when on the premises of the worksite. Common worksite PPE’s that should be used include helmets to protect the head, goggles to protect eyes, ear plugs and muffs to protect ears in noisy conditions, gloves to protect hands and fingers, and a reflective attire to ensure you are visible by others in the worksite.
The Details of the Worksite Safety Plan
Every workplace that is compliant with safety regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should always have a safety plan, also referred to as an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan. The plan is important to a worker’s safety as it details, among other things, what a worker should do in the event of an injury during the execution of their duties. Depending on the workplace, the safety plan would recommend a set of post-injury or incident measures. For instance, almost all OSHA-compliant establishments have an emergency or fire exit where workers should be able to leave the building in the event of a hazardous in-house condition such as fire.
The plan should also touch on what workers should and should not do in the event of a hazard. For instance, it is common in all buildings that employees are warned to avoid the use of lifts during a fire. Knowledge of such post-incidence actions and measures ensures that employees remain safe during a catastrophe, therefore preventing further safety issues while de-escalating the situation.
How to Use Workplace Tools Properly
Part of the safety practices that every employee should know and uphold in the workplace include the various tools that are to be used in the workplace. Knowing details relating to the workplace tools is important as it ensures that the workers can use them appropriately while avoiding possible safety issues and risks that come with their inappropriate usage. Most workplace injuries are as a result of improper use of equipment, tools, and machines by workers. Improper use is why workers should make sure to look at the machinery, conveyor belts, and other tools they will be working with to make sure risks are minimized and things are running smoothly. Workers should also be aware of the limits of the equipment, how they can be inspected before and after usage, and how they are stored appropriately to ensure their prolonged lifetime.
Taking Breaks When Necessary
Every worker should know the prescribed working limits and adhere to the stipulations to prevent particular instances where worker fatigue sets in. In every workplace, breaks are necessary to offer the body and mind time to relax and recuperate from exhaustion. Taking regular breaks promotes employee alertness and therefore prevents safety issues that come with workers being complacent to safety precautions. Breaks also help prevent instances of repetitive strain injuries that come with working in the same job for prolonged periods of time.
Workplace safety should be universally enforced by all individuals in the workplace, especially management. Part of making workplace safety a success involves educating workers on the particular areas on workplace safety that need emphasis, such as the safety precautions. Such precautions specifying how workers should conduct themselves in the performance of their duties are critical in preventing safety lapses in the workplace.