Employers can reduce the incidence of workplace injuries by following specific protocols and informing workers about safety measures they have placed. Not only should the equipment in a factory or office be ergonomic and agreeable to use, items, such as ladders, scaffolding, or worksite tools, should be set up to ensure both ease of access and stability.
According to San Diego accident injury lawyers from The Barnes Firm, “workplace injuries are common, but the right equipment can help avoid some of them.” Whether you are an employee or employer, the following tips can inspire you to make your workplace safer.
1. Implement Fall Prevention Practices
Did you know that a worker does not have to fall and get killed from an elevation? According to the National Safety Council, 146 workers were killed from simply falling on ground level in 2019. In total, 880 workers died from falling that year and 244,000 employees received injuries that were severe enough to prevent them from working.
Workers at construction sites have a higher risk from falling from heights than other workers. In fact, it happens seven times more often in construction. However, that does not mean that fall safety should only focus on specific industries. Office workers experience the same risks. Therefore, before any work is begun, supervisors need to go over the hazards and determine what workers should use in safety protection equipment and tools.
Fall-Proof Your Job Site or Office
To fall-proof a job site or office, safety experts advise that equipment, such as scaffolding or ladders, be set up on level ground and that workers never take on tasks when the weather turns bad. Always use the proper tool for a job, and use it for its intended purpose. Step ladders should feature a locking device to keep both the back and front open and in place.
Learn the Correct Way to Place and Ascend a Ladder
When climbing a ladder, workers should always keep both hands and their foot or a hand and both feet secured on the ladder. Prop the ladder against a stable and level surface on equally stable and level ground. Straight or extension ladders should be anchored to an upper area for added support.
If a worker uses an extension ladder, he or she should place the tool one foot away from where it is positioned for every four feet of height. The ladder should always extend about a yard over the top edge where it sits.
A worker should support the bottom of a ladder while his or her coworker uses the tool. It is also important to stress to workers that they should not reach or stretch when using a ladder at any time.
Stabilize the Scaffolding
Workers can become injured if scaffolding is not correctly assembled and secured. Ease of access should be emphasized, and bars and barriers should be placed to protect a worker from falling.
2. Look Out for Potential Worksite Hazards
Before a worker begins working on a job site or in the office, he or she should look for or be aware of any potential hazards that could lead to an injury. These dangers may come in the form of spills, hanging or frayed electrical cords, or strewn trash or debris.
Take a good look at a site before beginning any type of work. Ask questions. Make sure, for example, a worker won’t get hit by falling debris if he or she works in a certain spot or that a crane or heavy piece of equipment could strike a, unwary worker, bystander, or pedestrian.
3. Wear the Proper Footwear
Whether you work in an office or in a factory, you should make it a practice to wear slip-resistant shoes or boots.
4. Always Use PPE to Prevent Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, on a job site. PPE safeguards workers from injuries or sickness that may originate from radiological, chemical, mechanical, electrical, or physical dangers and hazards.
PPE may include items, such as safety glasses, earplugs (to protect hearing), full body suits, hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and safety boots.
5. Never Use Equipment That is Damaged
If equipment is damaged, don’t use it. Regular safety inspections should be performed before using equipment and after its use. Workers should be thoroughly trained in the use of equipment on the job.
6. Wear the Right Clothes and Skip the Accessories
Loose clothing or dangling jewelry can easily be caught in equipment, leading to a serious injury.
7. Keep Everyone Posted
Employers should keep safety ever-present in the minds of workers by posting safety cautions and signs throughout a facility or the office. Set up warning signs if a floor has just been cleaned or waxed or if an area has been painted or may contain hazardous chemicals. Lock doors to areas that may lead to injuries or fatalities and limit the site’s access.
8. Follow Ergonomically-friendly Practices
One of the major complaints related to injuries on the job concerns overexertion. Overexertion can result from repetitive motions, continual standing, or from using equipment that is not ergonomically designed.
Make sure employees are equipped with the right tools and furnishings so they can work comfortably. Also, break up an employee’s routine so he or she is not subject to the strains and sprains that result from overdoing the same thing over time.
9. Perform a Risk Assessment
One of the best ways to ensure safety in the workplace and stay legally compliant is to have a risk assessment performed. This report gives management an overview of what to focus on to keep a company more secure and safe. Safety should always be made the highest priority, regardless of the venue or the type of environment.
If you want to reduce your rate of injuries in the workplace, you need to focus on safety first. Follow OSHA guidelines religiously and make sure you have specific safety measures in place. Employees and employers alike should know what constitutes a safe or unsafe worksite.