In 2019 there were more than 4.6 million work related injuries that could have been prevented. These 7 safety tools should be in every employee’s mental toolbox. By following these safety rules every day, employees can prevent work related injury and deaths for themselves and for others.
1. Keep work areas clean.
Proper housekeeping alone can go a long way in preventing injuries. Injuries such as slips, trips, falls, lacerations, sprains, strains, etc. can be reduced by keeping work areas organized and clean. Before starting or leaving their shift, employees should always check their work area and make sure it is clean and ready for them or the next employee to start work safely!
2. Use the proper tool for the job.
This is very important! If it doesn’t cause an injury, using the wrong tool for the job can result in damage to the tool. This can lead to injury in the future the next time an employee uses it. Avoid the first impulse to use whatever tool (or object) is around you to get a work task done and use the proper tool to get the job done right.
3. Always wear the proper PPE for the work task.
Improper use of PPE or lack thereof, leads to many workplace injuries every year. PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and is the last line of defense when protecting employees from hazards at work. If you come into contact with a hazard when not wearing the correct PPE the injury will be more severe than if you were wearing it. A hard hat may be annoying or even uncomfortable, but it protects the head from falling objects which can cause serious head injuries that can be fatal. Always know which types of PPE is required for the job and how to properly wear and store it after use. Always double check PPE before use to ensure it in perfect condition and alert a supervisor if it isn’t.
4. Never work on live equipment.
Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers. This is why it is very important to know and follow proper Lockout/Tagout procedures. Lockout means to place a lock on a device that prevents energy release. Tagout means to place a tag on a switch or other shut off device that warns not to start that piece of equipment. Always follow proper lock out tag out procedures prior to performing any maintenance or repair work on equipment.
5. Make sure chemicals are properly labeled and stored.
OSHA issues many citations regarding the hazard communication every year. Keeping chemical storage records helps to prevent employees from inadvertently causing a chemical hazard by storing incompatible hazards together. Improper labeling and storage can lead to injuries or property loss! By storing incompatible chemicals together, this may result in generation of heat, fumes, gases and vapors that can give rise to a fire or explosion. This is why we have Safety Data Sheets! All employees should be familiar with SDS, where they are located, and how to properly use them.
6. Communicate safety hazards to other personnel.
Safety hazards are unsafe working conditions that can cause injury, illness, or death. These are categorized as biological, physical, ergonomic, chemical, or work organization hazards. Never assume that a coworker understands the hazards of a task or circumstance. When work plans or conditions within the workplace change it is essential that employees take the necessary time to inform others. This includes anything that can cause a slips or trips, anything that can cause falls, unguarded and moving machinery parts, electrical hazards, and even confined spaces.
7. Stop work when needed to address hazards.
Employees should always stop work to take the time to get hazards addressed and to make it safe to continue the task. Whether you need to involve other personnel such as a supervisor or you need to take time to get the right tool for the job, always take the time to do so. Failure to stop work and address work related hazards can lead to serious fatal injuries.
Remembering and following these 7 simple yet crucial steps to workplace safety will help to minimize the risk of workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. In 2019, work-related injuries that required medical consultation totaled over 4.6 million. In addition, preventable workplace deaths increased by 2% from the prior year, totaling 4,572 deaths. The industry sectors experiencing the largest number of preventable and fatal injuries is construction, transportation and warehousing. Throughout 2019, this accumulated to employers paying over $171 billion in work related injuries and deaths.
At Aventure Staffing we help employers and employees minimize risk while on the job. Through our safety orientation and training, we provide employees with knowledge of these safety tools. That way, when our employees arrive on the job, they know how to do so safely. In addition to minimizing employer risk, we also help them save on costs. In the event an employee is injured while on the job, Aventure Staffing ensures the employee is receiving proper treatment all while taking care of Workers’ Compensation related costs.