There are potential risks in the working environment regardless of whether you work outside, at a desk, or with powerful gear. To prevent workplace injuries, it’s critical to be aware of any potential hazards in your surroundings.
We’ll hereby define workplace safety, identify the people responsible for maintaining a safe work environment, and provide advice on how to stay safe at all times.
The Importance of Workplace Safety in a Nutshell
A secure workplace protects businesses, staff, and clients. In order to remain compliant with local and federal safety rules, businesses must adhere to target policies and procedures.
Since workplace safety guarantees a more welcoming environment, employees are likely to thrive. Overall, a safe workplace is a happy workplace!
Safety responsibility should be given high priority, therefore.
Establish a Culture of Workplace Safety
A culture of workplace safety should be a goal every business should adopt. Basically, it portends a positive attitude toward keeping workers safe.
While some industries may not go the extra mile, for others this point is crucial. Construction and manufacturing, for example, have a higher incidence of hazards, so a proactive approach is a must.
Basically, businesses should be upfront about procedures, safety measures, worker education, and proper management.
The term “safety responsibility” refers to both an employer’s duty to ensure employee safety and employees’ duty to follow safe working procedures. The phrase is often used to refer to workplaces in the construction, maintenance, and production industries… basically, any business that handles heavy machinery, chemicals, and similar hazards.
Understanding and upholding safety standards allow businesses to concentrate on their tasks while being certain they’re being performed safely.
Taking responsibility for workplace safety means confirming safety measures and thus minimizing the chance of accidents.
Who Is Responsible for Ensuring Workplace Safety?
This question is crucial. It is essential that businesses brainstorm the matter and appoint personnel in charge of workplace safety.
For some organizations, the HR division is the best solution. For others, it’s a supervisor. Regardless of your option, everyone involved is also accountable for establishing and maintaining a secure work environment.
Typical Safety Hazards
Typical work safety hazards include machines, tools, heights, obstacles, spills, and electricity.
Typical physical hazards include noise, lighting, temperature, and radiation.
Typical chemical hazards include liquids (acids, solvents, paints, cleaning products…), gases (acetylene, helium, propane, carbon monoxide…), flammable materials (explosive chemicals, gasoline, solvents…), vapors, and pesticides.
Typical biological hazards include (stinging) insects, (biting) animals, poisonous plants, bacteria, viruses, blood (and bodily fluids), mold, and fungi (home renovations, demolition…).
Typical ergonomic hazards include sitting (for a long time, improper posture…), lifting (heavy lifting, repetitive lifting…), and poor posture.
Safety Topics for Construction
Construction safety subjects are many and they keep multiplying. Interestingly, construction workers are often uninterested in discussing safety issues they’re unfamiliar with.
Leaving the reasons for this attitude aside, this means that businesses simply have to find a way to educate the workforce.
One of the best (and simplest) ways to do that is to schedule regular safety meetings.
Safety topics for construction are also numerous; we’ll mention only the most notable ones that shouldn’t be avoided by any means.
Construction Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Construction PPE is obligatory and defined by related regulations.
However, just providing PPE isn’t enough. It is necessary that it is safe to use, which means it must adhere to a number of standards and also undergo routine inspections.
- Skin protection
- Respiratory protective equipment
- Eye protection
- Head protection
- Ear protection
- Foot protection
- Hand and arm protection
- Body protection
- Fall protection
Sadly, thousands of construction workers fall every day. Falls are sometimes attributed to unfavorable working conditions and poor choices, but in most cases, it’s a combination of both factors. On rare occasions, faulty PPE may be to blame.
That’s why it is crucial to educate construction workers. Talk about fall hazards, pinpoint the risks, and discuss fall prevention techniques.
Of the latter, there are many, notably: anchor systems, safety harnesses, guardrails/barriers, netting… Ask the workers which of the concepts they think are best.
Thousands of construction-related fatalities and injuries are caused by falling objects each year. Not all of them are attributed to large items or pieces of machinery.
Basic physics will tell you that even a small object can prove lethal when it’s dropped from a high place.
To prevent accidents of this type, educate your workers on how to prevent injury. Some common methods include safety barriers, nets, and tethers/lanyards.
Lifting, Carrying, and Handling Objects
The importance of proper lifting, carrying, and handling of objects is often overlooked when it shouldn’t be. Even though improper conduct may not always result in a fatality, in the long run it can cause irreversible health risks.
The bottom line, education in this context should include proper techniques. E.g., explain the benefits of lifting with the legs rather than the back. Proper PPE should be provided, too!
Being Aware of the Surroundings
Avoiding workplace injuries requires awareness of the surroundings.
Here are some points of interest:
- Check the ground for spills or objects that you could trip over
- Encourage workers to use tools and equipment safely to prevent injury
- Encourage others to use mechanical assistance to help lift objects
- Take note of the gear and safety measures necessary for target operations
- Keep emergency exits open and unobstructed
- Always use solid ladders (not improvised ladders)
- Before utilizing railings, make sure they are securely fastened by testing them first
- Know where the first aid kits are located
- Know which employees have received first aid training in case of an injury
- Use the necessary signage to identify hazardous materials and areas
Company Safety Must Be Prioritized
Everything considered company safety is crucial for any business. While some industries are riskier than others, never underestimate potential hazards and health risks.
Even a poor sitting posture can prove woeful in the long run, so make sure to educate your employees and encourage awareness and healthy habits.
A proactive approach is crucial in this regard: businesses simply need to find a way to raise awareness even among uninterested employees.