According to U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) statistics, at least 4585 workers died while on the job in 2013. Do you know what this means? This translates to more than twelve deaths daily in the U.S alone. Therefore, you can see that it is extremely essential to know exactly how to stay safe at work. Here are a few tips to maximize personal safety in the workplace.
1. Understand the kinds of workplace hazards you may face.
When you go to a hospital for vaccination, you already know what you are preventing yourself against, right? Well, the same thing applies to personal safety at work. You should know what kinds of workplace hazards you are trying to avoid. Majorly, there are four main types of workplace hazards; physical, biological, ergonomic or chemical hazards. These categories are named according to how the hazards arise. Therefore, critically evaluate the space where you work and identify the most probable hazards you may end up facing.
2. Understand the safe working practices at your workplace.
Every workplace is different, with different levels of hazard occurrence probability. The office for instance, is different from a construction site. According to OSHA statistics, 21% of the deaths were in the construction industry. Thus, since every workplace has a set definition of what a safe practice is, ensure you fully understand them and implement them. For example, if you are operating machinery, what are the safe operation loads, speeds, vibratory frequencies, etc.? If you are a teacher, are there any items in your classroom that are potentially harmful? Following the set workplace safety practices is a sure way to minimize workplace hazards.
3. Be pro-active while at work.
The occurrence of different hazards is unique. Others take quite some time to become noticeable while others become apparent immediately. Regardless of how a hazard behaves, if you notice a potentially hazardous situation, report it to the relevant authorities immediately to have them fixed, or fix them if you can. Hazardous situations include loose bolts on a machine, naked electrical cables, unstable props if you are an actor, etc. Another way of ensuring you are pro-active is labeling potentially hazardous materials in the workplace and keeping updated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each material. This will help in informing or reminding not only you, but also other workers in the workplace about the danger lurking behind those materials.
4. Be aware of your environment.
This is common sense I guess. However, for those of you who needs reminding, I will elaborate a bit. While at the workplace, every day is different. It is not a guarantee that where you put material yesterday is where it will be today – someone else might have moved it. Therefore, each day you report to a workstation, ensure that you carefully study that environment. You should not work unknowingly under a suspended shaft or load for instance. This may seem simple, but according to OSHA statistics, 36.5% of deaths occur from objects falling on workers, 10.1% from being struck by rotary objects, 8.67% from being electrocuted, and 2.5% from being caught between machine elements. All these could be avoided by simply being aware of your environment.
5. Involve your co-workers.
Rarely will you be working alone at a workstation. This means that safety in that area depends greatly of how all the workers at that particular station operate. Therefore, while you strive to know how to enhance personal safety in the workplace, involve your colleagues. My friend, if another person creates a hazard while you are present, you may still suffer the consequences even though you were not the cause of it.
Staying safe while at work is your responsibility. Therefore, keep this in mind and remember to involve your coworkers. Are there any other tips you’d like to add to this list? If so, leave a comment and let us know what they are.