5 Safety Steps: Preventing Accidents In The Workplace

Injured man - Courtesy of Shutterstock

Injured man – Courtesy of Shutterstock

Workplace safety is one of the most important areas for an employer to take care of. If they fail to do so and an employee is injured, the employer can be liable for a significant amount of compensation to that employee. For that reason, it is best to maintain high safety standards from the beginning.

#1: Education

Every employer should make sure that employees are fully trained about workplace safety issues specific to their business. The employees should be tested to ensure that they truly understand.

Education should include printed materials that everyone can have a copy of. That way, it can be on hand in desks and work stations, so it can be referred to any time someone forgets the information.

#2: Chemical Hazards

Depending on the work environment, education can include teaching staff members how to identify and work with chemically hazardous materials. If such materials are handled inappropriately, incidents like chemical burns can occur. Toxic chemicals can also be a problem if breathed, so it will be critical to understand how to handle them correctly. If there are ventilation requirements or a need to wear a mask, employees should be informed of that for their own health and safety. They may need to wear gloves as well, and wash hands thoroughly after working with the chemicals. Employers need to make all of that information clear to those affected.

#3: Physical Hazards

Workers also need to be informed of any potential physical dangers. These include temporary situations, like a slippery spill on a floor or routine mopping being done. They also include everyday issues, like avoiding significant sources of electricity without proper authorization and precautions. The proper use of tools and mechanical devices is also critical. Many workplace accidents occur because employees did not use their tools or machines correctly while working. If this results because of a lack of training from the employer, there may be liability issues in the case of an accident.

Every employee should be fully trained with every piece of equipment that they will ever work with. They need to know how to use each one in the right way, so they can protect themselves and their co-workers from getting hurt. Periodically testing their knowledge protects everyone.

#4: Maintenance

Part of an employer’s responsibility is to keep both the building and the equipment in excellent condition. A good employee might be doing everything well but still get hurt if things are in disrepair.

For that reason, equipment should be examined on a regular basis to see if there are any safety issues. Parts that are loose or don’t move well enough can be an issue. The same is true for missing guards, other absent safety features, and even poorly maintained shelves or chairs. Floors in unsafe condition are another common issue. When noticed, those circumstances should be addressed right away.

#5: Signs

Along with directly educating employees about workplace safety issues, clear signs should be posted in all relevant areas. If hazardous chemicals are used in one spot, the guidelines for using them correctly should be posted there too. If machines are used in a different location, the rules for operating them should be posted there. Even a temporarily wet floor should have signs on it indicating the nature of the safety issue.

Response Procedures

In addition to signs that detail how to handle tools, machines, and materials, employers should post additional signs about how to deal with emergencies. These should clearly outline the steps that are to be taken when emergencies happen. Those steps will include basic care for the person hurt, and contacting medical assistance. Every employee should be trained on these steps as well.

Of course, employees are full responsible for doing their part. A good employee should carefully study all of the safety materials they are given and ask any questions that they need to. Ultimately, it is their own safety they are protecting, as well as the safety of their co-workers.

Legal Action

Of course, even the most conscientious employee can get hurt on the job. If that happens to you, personal injury lawyers will be available to help you get the compensation you deserve. A good way to find one in your local area is by visiting Attorneys.com and entering your zip code. That will give you info about actions available to you in your state, and help you find good local representation.