If you think you have to work around harsh chemicals or combustible materials in order to face health or safety problems – think again. Every job has risks, no matter where you work or your job duties. Some of the most common health and safety hazards include slip and fall accidents, getting hit by objects, being hurt while using machinery or tools, shock or electrocution, and hearing loss.  When it comes to your business, it’s important to learn about preventative measures.  Evaluate and assess which hazards have occurred, and ones that your business is most susceptible to.  These can pose serious threats to you, your management team, and your employees. If you are looking for workplace safety tips, or want to be more aware of the most critical safety elements in your business, continue reading.

Working Up High

If you have employees, whether they need to work up high at your facility, or do projects for others outside of your place of work, fall protection gear is essential. Many people are under the assumption that serious or deadly fall accidents only happen from extremely high spots. In reality, any height, even from a ladder, can cause an injury. If you plan on having employees up on scaffolding, on ladders, or up in chillers or on roofs, you need to have fall protection. This includes equipment and gear such as swing gates and fall arrest systems. Make sure that each employee has their own set of equipment, and that it fits properly.  Having records of employee training to do this type of work is critical.  

Blocking Emergency Exits

You probably learned about how important it was to not block emergency exits when you were a kid in school. But, you would be surprised how many people forget this. Whether you are out on a job or working at the facility where you were hired to work, it’s important to keep up with housekeeping. This means clearing emergency exits from obstruction, making sure aisles are clean of debris and equipment, and clearing fire exits of clutter or machines.  Inspections of walkways and work areas are a critical component of any hazard identification program.  By having a historical record showing proof of your due diligence will help you if you ever need to prove it.

Proper Evacuation Plans

Speaking of blocking emergency exits, you should also have a proper evacuation plan in place. Ensure that your crew members and employees are aware of this.  Run practice drills on a regular schedule so your team knows exactly what to do in case of a problem. This pertains to fires, combustion accidents, chemical leaks, and more.

Taking Care Of Leaks or Water On The Floor

We get it. You’re hard at work. The last thing you want to do is stop to clean up water on the floor fix a leak. But, sometimes it’s the most simple hazards that cause the worst accidents. Water on the floor can lead to slipping and fall, or even worse…electrocution. You should make sure that you instill the “clean as you go” rule with your employees. They aren’t just keeping themselves safe by doing this, but others as well.  It’s equally important that your employee has a mechanism to capture these unsafe conditions to share with management if it’s not a simple fix too!

Illegal Use Of Extension Cords

This seems like one of the most obvious workplace safety tips and yet, so many people misuse cords. Using multiple extension cords is a huge hazard. Sometimes you’ll see employees or workers daisy-chaining extension cords together in order to create a longer extension cord. Not only do they have the chance of shorting out and causing a fire, but this can also cause trip and fall accidents. The same goes for extension cords that are old and ratty.  These can cause fires, shock, and present an overall unsafe situation.  

Forklift Safety

Chefs use knives daily for cooking in the same way forklift operators use their forklifts every day on the job. Just as a chef can cut himself, forklift operators can also injure themselves, or others when they rush, put too much of a load on the lift, or even when they aren’t paying attention. Make sure that your operators aren’t taking shortcuts while they are operating their forklifts.  Forklifts are regulated in regards to employee training and daily equipment inspections.  It’s important both are in place for every forklift operation.  The best way to verify training has been completed is to either have a physical card on each employee or have an electronic database of training records, the same goes for daily forklift inspections required by law.  

Proper Maintenance

If you use forklifts, cranes, trucks, diggers or other machines, they should be maintained and inspected daily. Make sure all of your machines, tools and safety gear are serviced and maintained on a consistent schedule. This is more of a preventative measure than anything, and it stops accidents from happening before they even have a chance to start.  It’s important to have a quick way to notify responsible parties if there are issues with equipment, safety software can help make sure it gets to the right person, quickly. 

Store, Use and Dispose Of Chemicals Properly

Many businesses or facilities use various types of chemicals. They are stored with no idea of if and when they will be used again. Over time your stored chemicals can become a stockpile. Before you know it, you have a space filled with 30 different containers all from different dates. Regardless of how much and often you use them it’s important that you note what you have (especially if there’s no label), when they were opened, and what the expiration date is.  Also, pay attention to conditions such as temperature and moisture in your storage environment. If you do have to get rid of them, make sure you follow a safe process, and meet government standards and guidelines.

Proper Training Of Machinery

Machines can be dangerous. Not only can you get hurt by using them improperly, but you can also be injured by not knowing what to do when a piece of clothing or a body part gets stuck in one. Proper training will reduce the risk of machine-related accidents, and ensure your team members know what to do if an incident takes place.  A detailed job hazard analysis stored on your smart device or phone would decrease machinery hazards if reviewed regularly.

Proper Training Of Vehicle Related Usage and Accidents

All of your employees that work outside of your place of business need to know and follow laws related to operating vehicles. This will help keep them and pedestrians safe, and eliminate violations and costly fines.

Violence Between Employees

Violence is quickly becoming one of the worst problems in the workplace. It’s more than one person having a grudge against someone else, but actual physical violence, verbal abuse, and sexual assault. Violence in the workplace has given rise to an increase in injuries, and even work-related homicide.  Clear procedures and open communication with employees can help to avoid, and reduce the impact of these types of situations if they do arise.
Hopefully, these workplace safety tips not only help your employees stay safe, but also anyone you do business with or around. Aside from these, recommendations there are numerous resources online to help improve your company’s safety. There are a lot of things to track for employee safety and health, an electronic system is the only way to go if you’re serious about staying on top of today’s requirements.

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