Easy-To-Remember Workplace Safety Tips

Whether you work in a factory or at a showroom, safety is one of those things you don’t want to worry about. It’s hard to focus on the tasks before you, let alone to do them well, when you have to be concerned about threats of injury or harm — and that’s as true for you as it is for your employees and team members. What’s more, when you consider insurance, worker’s comp, rehiring, etc., protecting workers on the job is a huge financial issue for your business’s bottom line, as well. That’s why any way you can make your workplace safer is a way you make your business better. “Every year, more than 4.1 million workers suffer a serious job-related injury or illness,” according to Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “most of them preventable.”

So what can you do to create a safer workplace? Are there steps to take to protect yourself and those around you? The good news is yes — and the results are definitely worthwhile. “Employers who encourage safety among workers, actively mitigate accidents and commit to getting injured workers back on the job see a tremendous return on investment,” say Jim Sierra, vice president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, and Woody Hill, vice president of safety services for Texas Mutual Insurance.

With that in mind, here are a handful of safety tips that are easy to remember and implement. When you want to increase the security and stability of your work environment, here is what to know:

1. Safety Is a Team Effort. Getting everyone thinking about safety is much more powerful than relegating the responsibility to one or a few. When everyone understands the safety requirements in an environment, it’s much easier to prevent shocks and surprises, and it’s also easier to keep safety standards enforced.
2. Communication Is Key. It’s as true when it comes to safety as it is with anything else in the workplace — communication is key. So make it a habit to let co-workers know about hazards or dangers right away, and empower your staff with a way to report concerns. Ask for feedback regularly. Consider suggestions. Keep the lines of communication open in order to keep your workplace safe.
3. Have a Plan in Place. If you want to empower your staff to know how to respond to fires, injuries, violence, etc., you need to provide them with a clear response plan, which should include the right supplies (i.e., a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, etc.), as well as a clear action strategy. What should they do if there is a fire? How should they respond when someone passes out or is bleeding or has a heart attack? Take time to create a clear safety response plan, and get it communicated company-wide.
4. Try to Reduce Workplace Stress. The fact is, workplace stress is a major factor in safety threats, whether in a factory or a room filled with cubicles. When employees are tired, burned out or overwhelmed, they can’t think clearly and can make easy mistakes. Whether that means falling asleep while operating machinery or being too depressed to work efficiently, the results of stress can be very detrimental. Some stress-relieving practices to build into your workplace culture include regular breaks, healthy food options and an appropriate work/life balance where employees aren’t expected to be available 24/7. By pushing toward a less stressful environment, you create a safer workplace.
5. Respond to Potential Hazards Immediately. Whether it’s a spill, a leak, a potential fire hazard or some other threat, every hazard deserves careful attention. That’s why you should make it a practice throughout your company to always respond to these situations right away. When there’s a spill on the showroom floor, the first person to see it should clean it up, section off the area or take steps (i.e., let the appropriate staff members know) to remedy it. When a machine is broken, anyone who notices needs to immediately let whoever is responsible for that department know.
6. Limit Exposure to Chemical Hazards. In industries where hazardous substances are used, it is vital to limit the ways those substances can affect your workers. “Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose a wide range of health hazards (such as irritation, sensitization and carcinogenicity) and physical hazards (such as flammability, corrosion and reactivity,” says OSHA. So to regulate the levels of exposure your employees face, give them training on how to respond to hazards in the workplace, be sure to comply with all OSHA guidelines, provide respiratory protection when possible and, overall, look for ways to control the exposure of hazards and toxic substances in your work environment.

The bottom line with workplace safety is prevention. By taking the steps listed above, you take simple steps to keep workplace injuries from happening and make your business safer in the process.

Author Bio:

Mario Cattabiani is the Director of Communications at Ross Feller Caey,LLP, a personal injury and medical malpractice law firm based in Philadelphia.

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