Health and safety are taken seriously by most companies and the regulations are laid down by law and enshrined in work policies. However, accidents do occur because of a failure to adhere to basic common sense. Below are some simple guidelines to ensure that you and your colleagues stay safe at work.
Work is Not a Play Area
Work can be fun. People share jokes and enjoy collaborating on projects. However, horse play is to be avoided at all costs. Not only is this unprofessional, but it can be very dangerous. Always walk. Never run, jump, skip, or engage in boisterous behaviour.
Safe Work Area
Pay attention to the area around your workstation. An open drawer can trip a colleague and result in a workplace injury. Make sure that you do not leave piles of files on the floor that might not be seen and could create a workplace hazard. Make sure that your wastebasket is positioned in a safe spot under your desk.
Using Machinery and Equipment
You should never operate a machine you have not been fully trained to use. Machinery and equipment present the possibility of injury if they are not serviced regularly and when used by untrained personnel. Find out if you need to wear protective clothing such as specially designed gloves. Be aware that jewellery and clothing can get caught in machinery and even pull your arm or leg inside, with devastating results.
Don’t ever replace a ladder with a chair for stacking objects at a height. A chair is not designed for this task, and you can easily overbalance with disastrous consequences. Ladders must have non-slip treads and stable. Work boots can protect your feet from falling objects, such as while packing shelves above eye level.
If you have to lift heavy items, be sure to use your legs for leverage. Back strain and injury are a common outcome of incorrect lifting techniques. For items that are too heavy to lift by yourself, ask your supervisor for a trained helper. While it might be tempting to pit your strength against a heavy object, the chances of hurting yourself are high.
Unless it is your job, you have the training, and you have been issued with protective clothing, do not ever clean up bodily fluids. These include urine, blood, saliva, etc. Leave it to those who are qualified to do the cleaning.
Although it is incumbent on your company to ensure that all staff know the emergency evacuation procedures, exit routes, and gathering place, this doesn’t always transpire. Take it upon yourself to find out this information, including what to do in the event of robbery, bomb threat, or fire. Insist on fire and evacuation drills. If you are not sure who to speak to, ask your manager who the safety officer for your section is.
Companies may be proficient at attending to health and safety training. However, many commonsense requirements are never taught in the workplace. However, these tips can help to keep you safe.