With 2015 in full swing it’s high time to take another look at the state of safety in the workplace and make sure that we’re all doing our part to keep workplace accidents and injuries to a minimum. According to statistics gathered by OSHA one in five worker deaths last year occurred in the construction industry. Those are some staggering statistics. With that in mind the workplace safety tips detailed here will keep a particular focus on safety on the construction site, however they can easily be applied to any workplace from boring old office work to deep sea welding. With that in mind, here are the five most important tips to keep in mind in order to ensure a safe workplace environment.
1) Report Any and All Unsafe Conditions
The first thing that any worker from a temp to a supervisor should do when entering a new workplace is to analyze ones surroundings for any potential hazards or unsafe conditions. Anything from a missed spill to poorly constructed scaffolding have the potential to cause serious harm to an unsuspecting or unobservant employee. Keeping in mind the potential for disaster it is of the utmost importance that both employees AND employers remain vigilant in identifying and reporting unsafe working conditions to the proper channels in order to remedy the issue as soon as possible.
2) Properly Post and Obey Appropriate Signage
One of the easiest ways to avoid almost any workplace accident is to remain vigilant when observing properly posted signage. From a wet floor to an occasional falling object safety signs exist solely to make workers more aware of their surroundings, so for the love of Pete, recognize and obey them! Countless workplace accidents could have been avoided by raising one’s eye level slightly above one’s twitter feed and simply paying attention. Along with this it is one of the most important duties of a responsible employer to ensure that proper signage is properly posted, safety signs can be easily found online so a lack of signage signifies not only an employer’s laziness but also a criminal disregard for the welfare of their employees.
3) Use All Proper PPE
Personal Protection Equipment is provided by law to employees working in the appropriate conditions or surroundings. So for the love of everything holy USE IT! Disregarding PPE can result in preventable injury or death and incorrect use can have a similar result. So if using unfamiliar PPE remember to be briefed on the proper outfitting and application of all provided Personal Protection Equipment.
4) Use Machinery and Equipment as Instructed
Any piece of light or heavy machinery on a worksite has the potential to cause injury and, for many pieces of machinery, even death. From a hand truck to a forklift, using equipment as instructed can save one from a multitude of injuries be it a strained back or even losing a limb.
5) Be Sure to Take Regular Breaks
State laws regarding rest and meal breaks vary from state to state. While some states will require paid breaks be provided there are some states where employer provided breaks are not enforced at all. It is of the utmost importance that all employees become aware of their specific states code or statute regarding rest and meal breaks to ensure that their employer is providing the proper resources and rest periods. But regardless of your states legislation regarding breaks employees have to understand that over extended periods of strenuous work or concentration a human beings ability to rationalize and hold ones attention becomes increasingly strained, which can unfortunately result in sometimes disastrous consequences. Even a five minute break here and there can make a difference in preventing workplace accidents.