Is Your Employer Keeping You Safe?
There are jobs out there in the world that carry a much more significant risk than others. Aside from the obvious – looking at the job description – there are ways to tell if your job is riskier than others based on the benefits and salary on offer. For example, a line installer will always earn more money working on the line than a nurse in a hospital, because of the risk to life involved in that job. We live in a world where no matter your job, bad things can and do happen in the workplace. You’re supposed to be able to go to work, do your hours and come home to your family but sometimes, that doesn’t go as smoothly as that. Humans make mistakes, and the only thing that we can really do is to, where possible, minimise those mistakes and work together to create offices and workspaces that are free of hazards.
From the point of view of an employer, having safe and comfortable employees is not only beneficial for the wellbeing of their staff, but for the wellbeing of their profit and expenses. No employer wants to be called by the law offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm because of a worker injury lawsuit that has been filed. It’s in the best interest of every workplace to perform the correct risk assessments and maintain the correct standards in general so that everyone is happy. From the point of view of the employee, no one wants to go to work and end up in hospital! Workplace safety is so important and if you’re not looking after yourself, you could find yourself on the receiving end of an injury. The thing is, workplace safety doesn’t just exist on the policies and handbooks that your employers put together. Employees have to take an element of responsibility for their own safety in the workplace in spite of all the measures put in place to protect them. Employers can only do so much to keep people safe, but if the guidelines and rules that are put into place are not followed correctly, then injury is the inevitable outcome.
If employees are able to identify where unsafe practices are happening and make improvements, then the office as a whole can be safe and secure when they attend their regular jobs. Here are some of the most important things that every employee should be aware of when they are working, so that they can create a safe environment to continue their day.
Awareness. It’s important that while you are at work, you are aware of your surroundings and you know how to address any hazards that you come across. You should have read the employee safety handbook upon starting your job, and if you work in manual labour then you will be health and safety trained. If you haven’t had this training, then you are being seriously let down by the people who have hired you and you have to bring this to their attention. A simple mistake overlooking your lack of training could cause serious consequences, so it’s important to keep open lines of communication with your management team. Similarly, if there is machinery to be aware of you should educate yourself on how to use them correctly and not deviate from these guidelines. If you choose to operate machinery in an unsafe manner, you cannot be protected.
Posture. When you do heavy lifting work, you are taught the correct way to lift to protect your back. This doesn’t change when you work behind a desk. You are going to be sat potentially hunched over while you work at your screen, and this can absolutely destroy the muscles around your spine. Asking for a workstation assessment will mean the difference between you being able to work comfortably or not. Ergonomic seating and desks can prevent this from happening, and if you need to you can ask your employer for a standing desk. A lot of people prefer the freedom of movement and the lack of spinal compression with a standing desk, and this can do wonders for your physical health.
Breaks. A big reason that a lot of employees burn out is because they lunch at their desks and never take a proper break, hoping to push through to their deadlines. Taking breaks regularly, even to head to the bathroom to freshen up or grab a cup of coffee can make a huge difference to your health at work. Scheduling your tasks so that the most difficult ones are completed first can change the way that you work in general, giving you something to concentrate on.
Exits. One part of taking care of yourself in terms of your health and safety is knowing your exits and how to get to them in an emergency. We are in turbulent times and whether this is from an intruder or a climate issue, you need to know how to get out of harm’s way. You need to keep emergency exits at work accessible, so that when you are in the middle of a crisis you can exit safely without having to worry about obstacles stopping you on the way out.
Equipment. Safety equipment is especially important on building sites and in warehouses where equipment and machinery are used fairly often. You need to be aware of the hazards that require you to wear safety equipment, and even if it seems tedious to have to use a helmet or gloves, don’t skip out on it. They were bought and designed for your safety and if you choose not to use them, the only person you are compromising is yourself.
Employers have to train you and get you on board with the right safety practices, but if you are careful about your safety at work and stay vigilant against hazards and intrusions, there’s no reason you cannot stay as safe as possible while you are at work. Don’t get complacent about safety, it’s going to impact you, after all.