According to recent OSHA reports, more than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year in the U.S., and about 3 million are injured. Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility. To make sure you are safe on the job, you need to stay up to date with all safety laws, follow all safety procedures, call out unsafe behaviors, and stay healthy. Here are three ways you can actively make sure you are safer and better off by coming to work every day.
Participate in Safety Culture
Safety culture is one that is the product of both individual and group values, attitudes, and competencies. Look to your leadership to set the standards and mission of your company but understand that it is your actions every day that establish a company-wide commitment to safety. That means following safety protocol, identifying ways to improve safety on the job, educating others to the risks and hazards of the job, and generally reinforcing the importance of a safe working environment for all employees.
By providing that leadership, even if you are not in a position of leadership, you will encourage your team to take responsibility for safety in the workplace and protect yourself and others from avoidable workplace accidents.
Educate Yourself about the Risks
There are laws in place to protect workers from common forms of safety hazards. Understanding those laws is important, but even more, so is understanding the risks they are designed to mitigate. OSHA’s annual list of top 10 citations shines some light on the most common safety issues experienced in the US. Hazards include falls, lack of communication, scaffolding, lack of respiratory protection, lockout/tagout failures, accidents involving powered industrial trucks, ladders, machine guarding, and electrical equipment. These risks are commonplace and easily protected against, so make sure you are educated on the risks and actively working to protect yourself from these accidents (and others) every day.
Take Health and Wellness Seriously
Wellness is a combination of strong health, good exercise, eating and sleeping well, and general work-life-balance. Just as your employers should be taking the health and wellness of their staff seriously, so should you. Even as more employers are taking active steps to make health and wellness programs a priority, employees are responsible for taking advantage of those programs. Start with proper diet and exercise. Make sure that you have the opportunity to get proper rest every day. If you are a shift worker, think creatively about how you can get the sleep you need to stay productive and effective on the job. Make sure you are getting the healthcare attention you need when you are ill and practice the type of work-life balance that will keep you motivated and excited to do your job. It may seem like these are unsubstantial things, but it only takes one too many sleepless nights to result in a safety incident that can change your life or that of a coworker for the long term.
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