We all spend the majority of our lives in the workplace, so it’s not surprising that there are a number of ways that injury can occur while at our jobs. Workplace health and safety guides and regulations are set in place in order to prevent this as much as possible, but it’s up to staff and managers to understand them and ensure these guides are followed. On a day to day basis, there are a number of small, simple practices that can make the workplace a safer space to be for everyone. The following article explains a few easy ways to reduce risk and create an area you feel comfortable in.
Most companies will offer safety training when a new employee is inducted. For office workplaces, this will usually mean a tour around the building, and pointing out exits and stairs that can be used in case of emergencies. You will probably also note the fire extinguishers and other safety devices such as the first aid kit and possibly a defribulator. Many people consider this rudimentary information basic and might not pay much attention, but it could save the life of you or another.
For more active workplaces such as factories and warehouses, training usually includes detailed instruction in the ways of the workplace. Common hazards will be pointed out, as well as safety regulations such as clothing or weight limits. These places are likely to use dangerous or heavy equipment that can cause potentially fatal accidents, so pay attention and ask for clarification on any point you’re unsure of. If you don’t feel it has been explained adequately, ask for more information.
General Tips: Sedentary Workplace
Some people may think there are few dangers in a sedentary work environment such as an office, but you’d be wrong. The difference is these dangers are passive, gradually affecting the body over a length of time. In a way, this can be more devastating than one single accident, as it affects your health and wellbeing for the rest of your life. For your own safety, it’s recommended you observe the following precautions:
- Stretch regularly. Sitting in one position for too long results in stiff muscles and reduced circulation. Getting up and moving around – or if possible, going for a walk – helps your systems get going again.
- Sit comfortably. If you find yourself uncomfortable, do something about it. Bring a chair from home or an extra cushion, and try to keep your back as straight as possible.
- Observe ergonomics. Make sure your computer screen is at eye level, so you aren’t straining your neck, and that your elbows are at right angles. Try not to hunch over or slouch too much.
- Drink plenty of water. It’s easy to become dehydrated without even realising it. Keep your fluids up with a water bottle – don’t just drink coffee.
General Tips: Active Workplace
For more active workplaces such as factories and assembly lines, more specific caution is required. Check the guidelines of your job for what the precautions and restrictions are and then follow them. Some general ones to follow also include:
- Never work tired. Especially if you operate heavy machinery, it’s essential you are alert and responsive. Just drinking coffee and energy drinks doesn’t cut it – get a good night’s sleep.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. You may be working safely, but if someone else fails to follow guidelines you may become the victim.
- Don’t flout health and safety guidelines. The rules are there for a reason, and anyone who asks you to break them is breaking the law.