Workplace Safety Resolutions for the New Year

Each new year brings about new resolutions that range from the achievable to the downright absurd. Most resolutions tend to center around personal well-being, such as promising to spend more time at the gym to get fit, and setting goals to achieve professionally. However, very few take the time to ponder on how to improve health and safety while in the workplace. If you find yourself belonging to the majority who don’t make resolutions concerning workplace safety, then why not make this year the time to start making them?

After all, health and safety should always come first. By resolving to act on improving the health and safety in the workplace, it not only ensures personal safety, but also makes the environment safe and ideal for others as well.

Here are some resolutions that focus on workplace safety for the New Year.

1. Look back on the past year.
Blindly making resolutions for the New Year without considering the events that happened in the previous year will only result to half-baked goals. Review the accidents of the year that just ended. Have there been any documented health hazards due to exposure to asbestos – which has been documented to have affected families due to second-hand exposure? How about slips and falls due to construction safety problems? Were safety trainings sufficient throughout the year, or could this have been improved upon and thereby have prevented the accidents from occurring? Use the happenings from the year before to create better resolutions regarding safety at the workplace.

2. Review company policies on health and safety.
Take some time to look through the company policies, and review health and safety rules and regulations. Check if there are ample facilities that can prevent any hazardous substances and materials from sticking to skin and hair (such as asbestos) from being brought home and endangering the lives of family members. Know your rights as an employee, and find out if the company that you’re working for has provided sufficient information on keeping safe in the workplace.

3. Ask questions.
Some tasks may be too dangerous, or too difficult for one single person to perform. When in doubt about the safety of a certain job, don’t be afraid to speak out. Asking questions opens the line of communication between the worker and the management, and may prompt the higher ups to modify safety rules and regulations should one task be found to put health or life at risk.

4. Inspect personal safety equipment and gear.
The holiday season preceding the New Year is a great time to check safety gear and equipment. Is the safety vest still properly fitted, or have the boots lost their non-skid ability? Do the safety glasses still allow clear vision, or does the helmet need replacement? Don’t skimp on this resolution, and ensure that all your safety equipment and gear are in tip-top shape before starting work on the New Year. Otherwise, it’s out with the old, and in with the new.

5. Acknowledge distractions – and throw them away.
Activities that distract from tasks that need to be accomplished are distractions that should be thrown away along with the year that just ended. These distractions take away the concentration that should be poured into the task at hand. One seemingly small slip may have serious repercussions in the form of health risks, or worse, loss of life. Keep these distractions at bay when working, and focus on the job that needs to be done.

6. Know who to call in an emergency.
For any workplace safety-related concerns, knowing who to call or approach is as vital as knowing how to avoid hazardous situations. Emergency situations call for immediate action, so it’s best to find out beforehand who to turn to for those times when safety is compromised at work.

While it is the legal obligation of the company or the employer to provide a safe working environment to its employees, there’s no harm in taking that added step to ensure personal safety at work. Simply becoming better informed about health and safety policies governing the workplace is a good start. Doing so could lead to a better 2015 that’s free from accidents and health hazards.

Angie Cole writes about workplace safety on behalf of The Asbestos Institute, the premier provider of safety training & certifications for over 25 years.

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