Proper health and safety are essential for any workplace to protect staff and employers. There are risks and hazards at every corner, even in a seemingly safe area like an office or hospital, and these risks are amplified in construction sites and warehouses.
The safety of the workplace is everybody’s responsibility. Although employers must comply with legal health and safety regulations, employees must also take the initiative to avoid accidents and injuries at work.
Why is Health and Safety So Important in the Workplace?
Workplace hazards and accidents can cause physical injuries and psychological trauma. While injuries can sometimes be minor and short-term, they can also be the opposite. Major injuries may cause long-term disabilities and emotional trauma.
Depending on the extent of the injuries and the treatments required, those involved in the accident may also need to pay hefty medical bills. In some cases, employers may be responsible for paying medical bills if they are found to be at fault for workplace accidents and injuries.
Plus, when staff members feel safe at work, they’re more likely to work harder and more productively. Improved work efficiency leads to higher business success and growth and a strong and collaborative company culture.
When employers and employees can avoid injuries, they can also avoid compensation claims. As a result, stringent health and safety protocols can save money, stress, and time for everybody in the workplace.
How to Keep Yourself Healthy and Safe in the Workplace
Knowing how to prevent accidents and injuries at work is mostly common sense. However, it’s important to undergo extensive health and safety training and do your own research to keep yourself and those around you as safe as possible.
If you need further advice about health and safety at work, or you’ve been injured in a workplace accident and want compensation, contact a personal injury lawyer. Keep reading to learn more about how a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process following an injury.
Here are some important steps to follow to maintain workplace health and safety.
Identify potential workplace hazards
Sadly, hazards can appear anywhere, at any time. Even with extensive health and safety regulations, you can still encounter unexpected hazards at work.
Identifying all of the potential hazards in your workplace enables you to stay preventative steps to avoid accidents and injuries. Remember that it’s your responsibility (and your employer’s and colleague’s responsibilities.
By law, employers must undertake risk assessments when they make any sort of change in their workplace. Make sure to take note of these risk assessments and see what actions you need to take for maximum health and safety.
Report hazards as soon as you see them
If you spot a hazard in your workplace, you must report it as soon as possible to your employer. They can then take action to eliminate the hazard to keep everybody safe.
Hazards may include wet floors, cracked walls, wonky stairs, leaks, and faulty equipment. Stay alert and keep an eye out for new hazards and risks so you can resolve them before they cause injuries.
Participate in all health and training sessions
When you join a new company, your employer will provide in-depth health and safety training. They will also provide regular training sessions to keep workplace protocols at the forefront of your mind or update you regarding new policies.
However, it’s your responsibility as an employee to attend your health and safety training sessions. You don’t necessarily need to take written notes but be sure to pay attention and ask questions if you need further clarification about something.
Failure to be an active participant in health and safety training can increase your risk of accidents and injuries. If you need additional health and safety training, let your employer know.
Follow signage appropriately
Employers must use mandatory signage to indicate known hazards and make navigation around their building safer for employees and visitors.
However, there is no point in your employer investing in great signage if you’re not going to follow it! You must always be aware of your surroundings and abide by health and safety signage in the workplace.
Safety signage may include:
- Direction signs – these signs indicate where you should and should go inside the workplace and help guide you to the right place.
- Warning signs – this type of signage warns you of potential hazards and dangers in the workplace. They may include the words ‘caution,’ ‘danger,’ or ‘wet floor.’
- Prohibition signs – usually contain red and may say ‘no entry,’ ‘no smoking,’ or ‘no flash photography’ to indicate what you’re not allowed to do.
- Mandatory signs – this type of signage indicates the actions or behaviors you must undertake in a specific area, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)). They’re usually blue with white text.
- Emergency Signs – this type of workplace signage provides essential information and instructions in case of emergencies. They are usually green with white text or symbols. You may see these signs by emergency exits or first aid stations.
Educate others about health and safety
You might feel that it’s not your place to teach your colleagues about health and safety in the workplace. However, there is no reason not to share your knowledge and help those around you.
Don’t be afraid to educate your work colleagues if you notice that they’re not following health and safety protocols or you think they’re posing a hazard to themselves and others. If you don’t feel confident in speaking up, head to your manager and inform them of your concerns. They can provide company-wide health and safety training to ensure everybody is on the same page.