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Avoiding work-related injuries is a job that requires a change in both management and employees' attitudes. When approached early and as part of basic training, it can turn into a great way to change the dynamics of the job site and help make the workplace a safer environment for everybody.
Read the regulations and codes of practice manual put out by your company. If you work in a high-risk environment, such as a construction site or a loading warehouse, the manual may include detailed instructions, such as wearing hard hats in certain areas or avoiding contact with certain elements. Knowing where the hazards are will make it easier to be prepared and avoid the dangers or react quickly when they appear.
Discuss risk management and hazard identification with your boss and co-workers. In large companies, you may want to look into the possibility of hosting a workshop or video presentation. Risk management companies often offer safety training programs, or you may choose to have a senior worker in the company offer tips through a short presentation or lecture.
Put up signs and warnings in accident prone areas. Even if employees already know this, reminders are important. Retraining is also essential to reinforce issues raised in the past.
Avoid situations that may result in an injury, especially if you work alone. Climbing ladders, standing on tiptoe on chairs or other furniture, using dangerous tools and even lifting or loading heavy objects should be done when somebody else is around, so help can be provided in case of an accident.
Concentrate on your body when lifting or moving heavy objects. Make sure that you are using your legs to lift so that your back is not compromised. Do not bend down at the waist to pick up something, but instead bend your knees. If reaching for something high up, make sure that you are balanced and have a secure spot to hold onto to avoid losing your balance.
Wear appropriate clothing to avoid exposure to chemical and physical dangers, including dust, gases, noise and temperature. If no clothing is provided by the company, you may have to look into the options available, such as adjusting the temperature of the room where you work or using an appropriate element, such as an air purifier, to better your surroundings.
Invest in good quality equipment that will make your job easier. If you spend hours sitting, you probably need an ergonomic chair to avoid back and shoulder injuries, while those who work on computers should buy a high quality wrist rest and an ergonomic keyboard to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.
Most injuries at work can be prevented using common sense. If a situation seems unsafe, ask for help or advise your superiors of the danger.
- Laura Leavell