Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know
January 14, 2019
Know Your Surroundings
You may know the quickest way to get from your desk to the breakroom or how to best access your worksite's parking lot, but knowing your surroundings when it comes to workplace safety goes beyond your everyday habits. It's important to know the location of emergency exits, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and other safety equipment so that, in the case of an emergency, you can quickly assess the situation and act accordingly.
Use Equipment, Machines, and Tools Properly
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's perhaps one of the most important reminders regarding workplace safety. Make sure you're always using the right tool for the job and don't take any shortcuts when using equipment. Additionally, cleaning and inspecting any machinery or tools you use on the job regularly ensures they're in proper working order and increases their lifespan.
Wear Safety Equipment
Those safety googles might not be fashionable and that pair of steel-toed boots might be heavy, but you'd be thankful for them should an accident occur on the job. Personal protective equipment covers anything from ear plugs to chemical suits, and wearing the correct gear can prevent you from suffering a severe injury. Never go on the job without your safety equipment!
Prevent Slips and Trips
Many slips and trips can be prevented by taking a few precautions. Potentially slippery areas should be protected with slip-resistant mats or flooring. In the case of a spill, mark the mess immediately with cautionary signs or cones, and then clean it up as quickly and effectively as possible. Avoid trips by keeping paths, especially those leading to emergency exits, clear of personal items and equipment that is not in use.
Eliminate Fire Hazards
Fire hazards exist in just about any workplace, but those particularly at risk operate commercial kitchens, heavy machinery, or combustable materials. Be sure to clean any equipment regularly and keep workstations clear of any unnecessary items. Always double check heat and power sources before leaving your job to ensure they aren't at risk for fire. If you work with combustable materials, keep them at a safe distance from potential ignition sources and dispose of any waste in metal receptacles.
Avoid Tracking Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials aren't just a danger when they're being manipulated, they can be tracked into areas where people aren't prepared to take precautions against them. Clean work areas often and prevent cross-contamination by assigning separate cleaning supplies to these sections of the workplace. If your clothes come in contact with toxic materials, change out of them and do not bring them home.
Prevent Objects from Falling
Vertical storage is efficient, but it can be dangerous if not done properly. Stacking objects straight up and down, from heaviest (bottom) to lightest ( top), lessens the chance of a tower leaning and falling over. Never balance the weight of an object on an uneven surface. Nets, toe boards, and toe rails are good protections to prevent stacked objects from being disturbed.
Use Correct Posture
Having good posture while you're working can help prevent neck, back, and shoulder injuries. If your job involves lifting, be sure to keep your back straight and use your legs. Don't stoop or twist, and whenever possible, use mechanical aids like conveyer belts, wheelbarrows, or forklifts to help with the task. Sit and type all day? Set an alarm to remind you to occasionally double check your posture. Of you find yourself slouching, just straighten up, shrug your shoulders, roll them back, and then drop them.
Work-related injuries often occur when an employee is tired and is no longer paying attention to the dangers of their surroundings. Regular breaks allow you to reset your mind and stay more alert when you get back to work.
Report Unsafe Conditions
Supervisors are legally obligated to provide you with a safe working environment, but they can't do anything if they don't know anything. Be part of the solution by reporting unsafe conditions to those who have the ability to improve the situation.