Workplace Safety is Everyone's Job
By: The Working Man
Workplace Safety may be a carefully thought-out plan and set of
regulations in some industries and at some companies, or it may
be just part of the orientation everyone has to sit through when
they hire on. But in truth, it is a very important part of the
job both for the workers and for the employer.
Workplace safety is about keeping employees healthy and working,
so it is about protecting the company's most valuable assets.
Without healthy workers, the work doesn't get done, and the job
overhead increases for health insurance, workman's compensation
and the added cost of wages and training for new or temporary
For the worker, workplace safety is "life or death" essential. If
you are injured on the job you will at least lose days of work
and gain pain, sometimes permanent pain, and you might not be
able to work in your chosen field any longer if you are
permanently disabled. And of course, there is always the
possibility of fatal injury.
Employers should do regular hazard assessments and provide the
personal protective equipment necessary to protect their workers.
At the same time, you, as a worker, should take responsibility to
look out for your own safety as well as that of your coworkers.
If you see a hazard, whether poor handling of machinery, frayed
electric cords, toxic chemical spill dangers, bad ergonomics or
the like, report it immediately to the appropriate superior.
And for yourself, make sure that you wear and use the proper and
best personal protective equipment whether your employer provides
it or you must purchase it yourself. You only get one body in
this life, care for and protect it.
Here in the United States, as in many other countries, there are
regulatory agencies such as OSHA, the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration that set standards for worker protection
and PPE for many industries. OSHA requires companies in those
industries to do a job hazard analysis, which means that someone
must examine each job task and determine what tasks, tools and
work environmental conditions might lead to injury or a health
hazard to workers doing that job, and the employer must then do
whatever is necessary to prevent such hazards.
Depending on the industry, potential workplace hazards that
everyone should lookout for and work to prevent may include:
* Chemicals, whether toxic, corrosive, flammable, or explosive
* Electrical hazards such as shock or short circuit, static
electricity, fire, or danger from loss of power to a machine or
* Radiation from microwave ovens or towers, wireless technologies
* Explosion from chemical reaction or over-pressurization
* falling - Watch for situations that may result in slipping or
tripping either on walking surfaces or from high work sites
* Collapse of excavations or tunnels
* High heat or open flame that present a burn risk
* Mechanical injury, such as from chaffing, broken or failing
materials or tools, vibration, or tool misuse
* Risk of falling or projectile objects striking a worker
* Weather phenomena such as ice, snow, rain, or wind that
increases a hazard
* Temperature extremes that lead to heat stress, exhaustion,
hypothermia or frostbite
* Loud noise causing stress, blocking communication, or damaging
* Poor visibility caused by obstructions or low lighting that may
lead to error or injury
* Ergonomic injury cause by poor work site positioning, wrong
lifting posture, repetitive motion, and the like
Workplace safety can be increased by things as simple as
replacing burned out lights, closing cabinets and drawers,
teaching proper lifting techniques, adjusting workplace heights
to fit the person who is working, using the proper
tools for the
job, looking out for those around you, and the like. Such
workplace safety basics should be standard procedure for both
workers and employers.
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