Safety-related incidents can affect overall productivity, quality of work, and employee morale. In many cases, workplace accidents are preventable. Here are 10 rules for workplace safety that you can start implementing today.
1. Preventing workplace incidents is everyone’s job, and your personal safety is your responsibility.
Everyone has a role in making sure a workplace is safe, from the administrative assistant who gets the boxes of newly delivered office supplies unpacked promptly to the warehouse foreman who makes sure every person on the line gets a break. When you take charge of your own safety, it creates a safer place for all employees.
2. Dress appropriately, from clothing to footwear.
Keeping arms and legs covered, avoiding dangling jewelry or ties, and wearing closed-toe shoes can go a long way in minimizing common workplace injuries and accidents. When and where applicable, always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), and inspect it for damage before and after use, so that it can be repaired or replaced promptly.
3. Keep work areas neat and tidy.
At the beginning and end of each shift, clear away trash, pick up cords and cables, and put office supplies away. Gather any materials you’ll need to complete your work. This will avoid losing things as well as having to bend or stretch unnecessarily, trying to reach objects that are misplaced or out of reach.
4. Follow the rules.
Don’t cut corners or take unnecessary risks. Workplace safety rules are often developed in response to hazard and risk assessments. They are by nature designed to minimize the chances that an employee will be injured while carrying out assigned tasks.
5. Report workplace accidents or safety incidents.
Always report incidents to your supervisor promptly so that the appropriate steps can be taken. These can include getting care for an injured employee, fixing the problem that caused the injury, or ensuring regulatory, state or federal reporting compliance.
6. Know and follow emergency procedures.
In order to safely and effectively manage emergencies, it’s imperative that all employees are trained in and follow emergency procedures. This helps safety coordinators and emergency services get a handle on a situation and determine the best way to bring it under control.
7. Lift, bend, and stretch with care to avoid injury.
Musculoskeletal problems caused by poor technique when picking up boxes or stretching to reach objects is a common cause of workplace injury. If you’re not sure how to best lift, bend or stretch at work, ask your supervisor or company safety officer.
8. Don’t operate tools or machinery that you haven’t been trained for.
While some tools or equipment may seem pretty intuitive, it’s always best to avoid using items unless you’ve been trained in proper handling. This is for your safety as well as the safety of those around you.
9. Avoid drugs and alcohol at work.
Not only can drugs and alcohol affect your motor skills, they can also impair your judgment and ability to communicate. Even prescription drugs can have a serious effect on your ability to handle machinery and tools safely.
10. Take breaks appropriately.
Being well-rested helps employees maintain the focus and situational safety awareness that contribute to workplace safety. In some places, work breaks may be established according to contract; in others, it’s on the employees to work out breaks among themselves.
These 10 rules for workplace safety can be applied in nearly every workplace. In a safe working environment, the quality and quantity of work can be maintained without the staffing issues caused by unexpected employee absences. When employees and management work together to maximize safety, it benefits everyone.