Safety on the Job: A Preventative Guide for a Safe Workplace
Who needs workplace safety tips? If you are an employer or an employee the answer is – “you do”! Being safe in the workplace often only seems applicable to those with dangerous jobs. But on the contrary, workplace safety, when practiced and prioritized, can ensure that everyone remains accident free. Workplace safety can be as simple as proper body mechanics when lifting an object or as thorough as reviewing and practicing a proper fire drill routine. But all of the tips on our list will help you, and your working environment, achieve a much higher safety standard, while reducing the risk for accidents.
Office Safety Tips
Most office workers do not think that “on-the-job safety” applies to them. It does. Injuries can go far beyond paper-cuts. And while it’s a good idea to keep your tie away from the shredder, there are many, more realistic, preventative measures that need to be taken around the office. From preventing falls, to safe lifting practices, all methods need to be put into practice to ensure a safe office environment.
- Make sure all walking areas remain clear
- Report any loose carpeting or any areas of damaged floor
- Close all drawers when finished using them
- Keep loose electrical cords away from walkways
- Report or clean-up spills immediately
- Always use a stepladder to reach high objects
Safe Lifting Tips
One of the easiest ways for an employee to injure themselves in an office environment is to incorrectly lift and transport heavier objects. Office workers are especially susceptible to these types of injuries, because unlike manual laborers, they are not lifting objects daily. That means they often misjudge their abilities and body mechanics.
- Balanced stance: keep feet shoulder-width apart. Squat closest to object when lifting from the floor
- Keep your back straight
- Use a full-hand grip on the object; avoid using just your fingertips
- Lift by straightening your legs while keeping your back straight
- When you need to turn with the object, make sure your entire body turns. Do not twist your body.
- Use the same mechanics to place the object down as you did to lift it.
Proper Material Storage Tips
Office equipment can become outdated fast. Or sometimes something breaks and needs to find a new home. Now that we know how to properly lift the object, there are a few rules we should follow to ensure the object(s) do not become a problem.
- Keep heavier objects on lower/lowest possible shelves
- Do not store any equipment in aisles or hallways
- Storage areas need to remain as storage areas
- Make heavier items easily accessible; no one should have to reach across something to get to a heavier item
Proper Fire Safety Tips for the Workplace
One topic of workplace safety that always needs to be perfected is fire safety. This includes, fire prevention, how to react to a fire, the employees role in fire containment, and evacuation procedures. Obviously, all workplace environments are different and will have slightly different protocol. For example, a kitchen can deal with small fires easily; sometimes dealing with them quite often. While other working environments can not deal with fire at all. Regardless of your work environment, these precautions and procedures can always help improve the workplace’s readiness when it comes to dealing with fire.
- Keep all walkways clear, as mentioned above for general safety
- Sweep up all paper scraps. (At the office, scraps can gather around shredder area)
- Extension cords need to be uncoiled completely. Never use as permanent wiring
- Make sure to check that your extension cord is rated for the amount of electricity it will be using
- Ensure that trash cans are emptied frequently. These are repositories for combustibles
- Do not use electrical equipment if vapors or odd smells are detected. Have the equipment checked thoroughly by a professional repair person before continuing use
- All chemicals used on the job need to be properly stored, preferably in metal cabinets
- Employees need to smoke in designated areas only. Management needs to ensure that smoking areas are properly situated on the property.
- Never block sprinklers or access to fire extinguishers
- Make sure all fire extinguishers are up to date and inspected regularly
- Train all employees on using a fire extinguisher
- Make a plan, practice evacuations and alternate escape routes with employees
Most people associate fire with death and personal injury. While those factors are a real outcome of fires, the most damage that is done in workplace fires is to the business itself. In most work-related fires, the damage is usually never repaired. Fires are a very real threat to shutting down a successful business. But if all employees are trained, and all of the tips adhered to, the risk of having a damaging workplace fire is greatly reduced.
Forklift Safety Tips
Few things can be more dangerous than having a piece of heavy machinery driving around the work area. Forklifts can maintain a modest speed, turn on a dime, and are often carrying extremely heavy objects. Luckily, the operators are trained and certified professionals and have developed an extraordinary skill level with their forklift experience. However, there are still some rules and tips that need to be followed by everyone who operates a forklift, and for those working around forklifts.
- When not in use, forklift must have all controls set to neutral, forks (and attachments) need to be fully lowered and out of the walkways.
- If the driver leaves the forklift, engine must be off and the driver must have possession of the key.
- Load can never block the driver’s view. If the load is too large, driver must have the load trailing.
- Driver must sound the horn at all intersecting walkways to alert pedestrians/workers of his whereabouts.
- Employees must never walk under the raised forks or the lifted load.
- Driver must stay with the truck (forklift) whenever a load is lifted.
- Driver must slow down before making turns; forklifts can easily tip over.
- Loads should be transported/driven as low as possible to keep the center of gravity low.
- Always be aware of overhead clearance
Whether you work in an office, or a warehouse, there will always be measures that can be taken to create the safest possible environment. Since everyone relies on their employment to sustain their well-being, all of the tips suggested are first meant for the individual to adhere to, and then, become the ultimate responsibility of management to enforce. But starting with the employee, empowerment through education, is the most effective step towards creating the safest possible workplace environment.