Every year well over one million hard working individuals across Great Britain suffer from a workplace-related illness. This tallies up to 28.2 million work days lost, an estimated £14.2 billion being spent to help heal injuries and illness, and most tragically of all, 133 work-related deaths from 2013 to 2014. While not every danger can be foreseen and every accident prevented, the vast majority of them can be by following these ten accident prevention strategies.
- Be Alert
Being awake and fully alert doesn’t only make an employee more productive and a better performer. Being aware of one’s surroundings and what’s happening at every moment is imperative when it comes to staying safe while on the job. From preventing slips, trips and falls to acting quickly to prevent the injury of another, keeping sharp is key when it comes to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.
- Look for Possible Threats
Your employer should be doing his or her best in ensuring that the workplace is kept safe for employees. However, the employees should also always be on the lookout for potential threats and feel secure in advising their employer of any possible threats.
- Advise your employer of any leaks or slippery spots within the workplace
- Recommend in the installation of guardrails, ropes and pulley supports where possible
- Stairs should be outfitted with non-slip surfacing to prevent slips and falls
- Request ergonomic furniture and tools to help keep you comfortable around the office
- Request that your employer provide you with adequate noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs in noisier areas
- Ask for warning signs and rules to be posted and made visible to all employees that outlines possible hazards and proper conduct
The above are just a few of the more common preventative measures that one may take in the workplace. Never be afraid to mention any needed tool or equipment repairs, or to make suggestions for how to make the workplace safer for yourself and other employees.
- Clearly Mark Any Safety or Health Hazards
Whether it’s a leak, a broken guardrail or a malfunctioning piece of equipment, any and all safety concerns should be clearly and visibly marked. Regardless of how obvious a danger may seem, spell it out in a memo and by having appropriate signage in place (i.e. bright yellow safety tape, neon orange cones surrounding an area of concern, etc.).
- Participate in Emergency Drills
Most work places will have annual or more frequent emergency drills in an attempt to ensure that employees know how to react in dangerous situations. Unfortunately, a number of employees fail to take these drills seriously, which makes them not only a danger to themselves but to others. Do not take these drills for granted. Listen, take notes, ask questions and participate. Taking those few minutes to be actively involved can be the difference between saving someone’s limb, or even their life.
Important points that should be mentioned during an emergency drill include:
- The location of a first aid kit
- The location of all fire extinguishers
- The location of smoke detectors
- The location of escape routes for certain situations (exists should be marked)
- Proper employee conduct in an emergency situation (i.e. don’t run, be alert, move quickly)
- Create an Emergency Team
Most workplaces now have a mandate where one or more select individuals will be a part of the company’s “emergency team”. These individuals often receive additional training (i.e. first aid training) which is supplied by the employer to help keep others safe on the job. Members of the team will also be responsible for monitoring the workplace, keeping a lookout for any possible hazards, as well as help management create rules and regulations surrounding health and safety.
- Refuse Jobs You Are Not Trained For
It doesn’t matter of it’s a desk job or a task operating heavy machinery. As the personal accident attorneys at Russell Worth Solicitors (russellworthsolicitors) have seen first-hand, individuals should never accept a job that they are not trained for, regardless of how mundane the task may seem. This is particularly important for those who are performing manual and more laborious tasks which can put themselves and their co-workers at work.
- Ask About Potential Risks
An employee should never feel forced or coerced into performing a job which he or she may feel is beyond his or her expertise or poses too great of a risk. If an employee feels uncomfortable in performing a certain task, he or she should speak with the supervisor. More often than not the supervisor will come up with a solution to ensure that the task is done safely and is a minimal risk to you and anyone else involved.
- Follow the Dress Code
Some employees may frown at being instructed on what to wear in the workplace, but there is almost always a safety reason behind it.
- Wear a hardhat when instructed
- Make sure that steel toed boots are being worn in appropriate areas
- Regardless of how quickly you may have to act in a situation, always make sure that the correct protective garments are being worn in areas as required
- Don’t Improvise
Employees with the best intentions often become injured because they chose to improvise on the job. In the spirit of getting things done quickly and with as little hassle to the employer, many individuals will choose to create makeshift tools to perform the job when the right tools are broken or unavailable.
Many accidents happen because employees choose not to use the right equipment for the job. If an item you need is located on a high shelf, for example, don’t wheel over a chair or step on a box. Locate a safe ladder or stepping stool and use that to retrieve the item you need. If one is unavailable, request one from your employer prior to putting yourself at serious risk.
- Adhere to Safety Measures in the Work Place
Your employer is responsible for your safety and well-being. Part of this responsibility involves having well designed safety programs that can teach and train employees proper conduct within particular areas of the workplace, as well as how to use any technology or machinery properly. Employees must not divert from these safety programs and follow them closely not only for the health and safety of themselves, but for the health and safety of all.