Most people spend the majority of their waking hours working. If appropriate safety precautions at work are not taken, injury and even death is possible. Regardless of whether or not a governmental agency for safety regulates the workplace, employees should take a proactive approach to avoid their own injuries in a workplace.
Identify Potential Hazards
Employees must identify potential hazards so that they can be prevented, or at least so that risks can be brought down to an acceptable level. Employees should identify unsafe actions so that management and safety engineers can be notified and so that safer workplace procedures can be developed. For instance, an employee should report expediently a piece of machinery that appears loose to upper management or maintenance staff.
Employees must be aware of procedures developed to report dangers that they have discovered. For instance, employees should know where emergency phones are so that they can call and report emergencies. Whenever possible, employees should wear relevant safety equipment, such as safety goggles and hardhats.
All workplaces have the potential for falls. Workplaces with more slippery flooring are more likely to have falls, but falling is possible almost anywhere. Falls commonly happen when objects are moved improperly. Workers should bend with their knees to lift up objects, should always carry objects on an even surface and must never lift objects higher than eye level. When climbing, workers should always use handrails.
Another hazard common to all work places are fire hazards. Employees should participate in fire drills so that they know how to exit the building in the event of a fire and they should be able to operate fire extinguishers and know where they are located in the event of a fire.
Workers should also learn the proper procedures that should be carried out in the event of a violent crime committed within the workplace. For instance, many banks have a policy that workers are supposed to hand over whatever money a bank robber asks for. Some banks have a switch that bank employees can discreetly activate that sends a message to local authorities that the bank is being robbed.
Talk to Safety Engineers
Different businesses have different hazards and employees should talk with the safety engineer or upper management to learn about potential dangers in the workplace. For instance, industrial production facilities and maintenance shops tend to have higher rates of injury than other workplaces because workers often use heavy and sharp equipment, are subjected to very high temperatures and also use corrosive and toxic chemicals. Workers at medical facilities need to follow procedures for handling the spread of infectious diseases in order to contain these diseases and prevent workers from becoming infected.
Workers should be aware of their surroundings in order to avoid tripping or bumping into hazards. Hazards should be kept away from the general paths of workers whenever possible.