Injuries in the workplace are costly, both for the employer and the injured employee. They cost money, lost time at work, can cause the employee a lifetime of chronic illness, and sometimes can even lead to a damaged reputation for a business. Finding out why and how an injury occurred can help to prevent another accident.
Practice Situational Awareness
This term is well known among military personnel, but it is equally compatible with safety in the workplace. Quite simply, situational awareness means being aware of everything around you in relation to the task at hand. Think mindfulness. It is taught to soldiers, law enforcement officers, and is also something that applies to you and your work environment.
To help you start considering situational awareness during your workday, try to:
- Think about your workplace and what hazards or potential hazards are nearby. Then find ways to mitigate or eliminate the hazard.
- Always report unsafe situations or areas of concern to a supervisor.
- Keep an orderly and clean workspace to eliminate potential accidents. Pick up debris to create a safe work area for all.
- Keep floors dry or mark with signs accordingly. The most common workplace injuries come from slips, trips, and falls, and in fact they also comprise 15% of accidental deaths.
Communicate and Speak Up
Let others know about unsafe areas like poor lighting in hallways or on stairs. Warehouse aisles should be wide enough for equipment, people, and movement of supplies.
Take frequent breaks if you are engaged in tasks involving repetitive motions that put stress on joints. Computer work can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Lifting heavy objects can cause back injuries if an employee has not learned proper techniques. Working with heavy machinery can also lead to stress on joints, tendons, and ligaments.
Take breaks and get moving around the workplace to relieve some of the pressure and strain from your body.
Know Proper Lifting Techniques
To lift anything over 40 pounds, find some assistance. If you are doing the lift yourself, keep the object close to your body, stagger your stance, and avoid twisting while lifting.
Overexertion can cause lengthy time away from work to recover from a hernia or painful strain.
Use Proper Safety Equipment
Employers should have safety equipment at hand. This includes goggles, ear plugs, hard hats, gloves, proper shoes, and the use of air-purifying respirators.
Speak up if something is missing.
Attend Safety Meetings
Regularly attend all safety meetings to understand the rules and safety regulations. Do what you can do to control compliance.