Three Key Safety Tips for Employees in the Workplace
Health and safety are crucial importance in the workplace, being the primary mechanism by which workplace injuries are prevented or mitigated.
23:26 12 May 2022
Health and safety are crucial importance in the workplace, being the primary mechanism by which workplace injuries are prevented or mitigated. It is a heavily legislated field of workplace law, and for good reason; according to a recent Labour Force Survey, over 440,000 people suffered a workplace injury in the 2020-21 period.
It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of employees at work, but many directives require employee co-operation. What can you do as an employee to improve your workplace safety?
Wear Personal Protective Equipment
Technically speaking, personal protective equipment, or PPE, should be considered a last resort when it comes to protection from workplace hazards. Preventative measures are much more effective at avoiding injury, but PPE can be invaluable to safety and the prevention of significant injury.
Safety glasses are important for hands-on work with power tools, whether drilling, sawing or welding; they protect the eyes from irritation by flying debris, and can prevent injury from flying objects in the event of an accident or breakage. Steel toe-capped boots protect the feet from heavy and falling objects, and specific items of PPE like tool lanyards can protect others from falling tools when working at height.
As much as it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its employees, there are also expectations placed on employees to ensure one another’s safety. While legal expectations lie primarily with the employer, employees have a duty of care to themselves and one another – which leads us to the importance of reporting hazards.
Employers are legally required to carry out risk assessments to discover and account for workplace hazards – but risk assessment systems are not perfect, and new hazards could also crop up between assessment periods. As an employee, you should remain vigilant for new hazards in the workplace, and highlight any new risks to your employer. This way, effective action can be taken quickly, and employee safety can be maintained.
Observe Proper Safety Techniques
This advice also extends to less hazardous working environments, such as offices or administrative spaces. Even low-risk environments such as these do not preclude the lifting of heavy objects, from furniture to boxes of documents or paper. As such, proper understanding and observation of lifting techniques can prevent the risk of muscle strain or injury.
Even using at your desk improperly can cause a workplace injury; failure to observe proper posture when sitting at your desk can lead to chronic back pain, while repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome can arise from using a keyboard and mouse without the proper support.