Getting to work safely, working in a well-managed environment and returning home safe in the evening is every employees right – but not all the responsibility for this can be held by your employer. It is true your employer had a duty of care to protect employees from danger whilst at work, but as individuals we also have a personal responsibility to ensure we do not place ourselves (or our colleagues) in any danger.
You will find that keeping safe at work is often common sense, so here a few tips based on common mistakes, which will hopefully make you think twice and help prevents accidents and injuries:
1- Understand and minimise the risks
Before you commence any task, stop for a moment and consider the task which is about to be undertaken. By doing so you will create an opportunity to briefly analyse the individual components of the task and highlight any aspects which could potentially cause injury. If you feel a safer alternative is available this should always be discussed and then implemented.
2. Use mechanical aides wherever possible
It is a well-known fact that the majority of back injuries at work are caused by incorrect lifting techniques or by individuals lifting more weight than they can comfortably manage. I’m sure we have all been guilty of this from time to time. Unfortunately this not only leads to injury for the individual but also to time off work and loss of production for the company. Therefore, if your company offers a training session on manual handling, it is strongly advisable (and often mandatory) that you attend. This can provide you with knowledge on safe lifting techniques that can also be used in the home, and save you from any potential injury.
3.Wear the correct clothing and footwear (P.P.E)
You wouldn’t dream of turning up to work at farm in a bikini and heels, would you? So why would it be deemed acceptable to work on, for e.g. a building site or indoors as a cleaner, without the correct clothing or footwear protection. Although this sounds like common sense many people shirk wearing the correct items as they deem them unnecessary, when reality safety boots will protect your feet from heavy objects or nails through the soles and hard hats will protect your head against knocks and falling objects, with safety goggles protecting our eyes from chemical splashes. Personal Protective Equipment is important, therefore if you feel you would benefit from any of these items but haven’t been issued any; don’t start the task without first speaking to your employer.
4. If working alone ensure you are aware of the procedures – and ensure you adhere to them.
If you have to work alone, as many people do, your organisation should have a process in place which you will be expected to follow. This usually involves regular communications with a control centre or named individual so you can ‘check in’ at the beginning if your shift, again at set times throughout and ‘check out’ at the end, and if a call is missed someone will be dispatched to check on you. If you currently work alone and don’t have a process to follow it may be worth discussing setting one up with your employer, as it could one day save your life.
5. Read and understand the risk assessment.
If you are asked to sign a risk assessment before you commence a task then please ensure you read, understand and appreciate it’s importance – this information is provided for you, so you are aware of any risks involved and how best to mitigate them, don’t brush these documents aside as just paperwork.
Remember when arriving at work – staying aware, assessing the task and minimising the risks are all that are required to keep you safe in the workplace.
Author Bio: Vivienne Ollis Journalist & Blogger for http://www.essexinsulation.co.uk