Safety should be of paramount importance in every workplace. A work environment that fosters safe and healthy work conditions allows employees to focus on their job, be more productive, and become better poised to achieve company success. Conversely, an office or plant that’s prone to accidents only breed hours missed for work, decreased productivity, and profit loss.
According to the Canada Labor Code, employers should educate their employees on how to perform their duties safely. Employees should take precautions to protect their own safety and make sure their actions do not cause harm to their colleagues.
As both parties work toward a common goal, safety regulations must then be crafted and everyone in the company is tasked to observe them on every workday. Whether you are developing these regulations from scratch or are looking at modifying an existing safety plan, here are five workplace safety practices every company must adhere to:
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1. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
Any job site, from a typical office to a huge plant, can have inherent dangers lurking in the background. Having a sharp awareness of your surroundings is important in preventing these dangers, as they might cause unnecessary injuries or in serious cases, death.
Take time to be more familiar with every corner of your workplace and the tasks that you do daily so you’ll have an increased awareness of the potential hazards that might arise anytime. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your co-workers from danger and frame your mind with the proper response when these situations take place.
2. Identify Different Hazards in The Workplace
Management should encourage employees to immediately report health and safety issues to their supervisors or managers. Supervisors and managers should also conduct routine inspections to identify and assess these workplace hazards as well as evaluate work practices that may not be safe. Once these hazards have been identified, the management team should take action to minimize the risks of work-related accidents. You can also get regular safety inspections from a professional workplace health and safety company to make sure that you are on par with your industry’s standards.
- Maintain cleanliness. Clutter can cause safety issues and cloud the mind, affecting focus and concentration. Keep your work area clean to encourage productivity. Get rid of other potential dangers like messy floors and tangled cords to prevent trip hazards.
- Eliminate distractions. For high-risk workplaces (e.g. manufacturing plants where workers operate heavy machinery), distractions must be eliminated as they can easily interrupt operations. It might be best to set a No Electronic Device Policy during work hours to ensure that the attention of the workers is always on the task at hand.
- Remove fire hazards. Are you using combustible materials in the workplace? Prevent fire hazards by securely storing flammable items and separating them from any sources of ignition. Combustible waste must be stored in metal receptacles and disposed of daily.
- Prevent falling hazards. Protect employees from injuries caused by falling objects by using toe boards, toe rails, and nets. For boxes, stack them straight up and down. Arrange heavier objects on lower shelves. Avoid placing stacked objects along with work areas, aisles, and hallways with high foot traffic.
- Use machines and tools properly. Not observing proper procedures/protocols and taking shortcuts is one of the top causes of injury in the workplace. Never use another tool to do a specific task, or use scaffolding in place of a ladder. Use tools for their intended purpose to reduce risks of injuries.
3. Take A Break
In several cases, workers who are tired and burnt out are prone to accidents because they cannot detect dangers around them. Replenish your energy by using your break times to stay alert and focused. Try tackling difficult tasks for the day at times when your concentration is at its peak. For the majority of workers, it is during the first few hours of their shift in the morning.
4. Stay Updated on New Safety Regulations
Participate in safety orientations and procedure training when your company buys new equipment. While it’s true that it’s the employers’ responsibility to educate the employees and assign them the appropriate training so they can perform their job roles safely, employees are required to be knowledgeable of the safety procedures in the workplace and abide by them when using machines.
5. Practice Proper Communication
Occupational health and safety must be founded in proper communication. Failure to communicate can cause accidents. Clear communication of best practices helps everyone in the workforce relay and receive important messages, inform their co-workers of potential hazards, and promote accountability.
Once you spot something that could hurt someone, take the initiative to clean the area or remove the object to keep everyone safe. In serious cases, inform your supervisor so they can take action right away. Use signs, labels, or pictures to communicate important information regarding hazards.
Promoting a safe and healthy work environment is a shared responsibility between employers and employees. If you need assistance with drafting a safety program for your company or help in instilling these best practices in your workforce, it is best to ask for professional help.