Employees and employers both have a responsibility and commitment to being safe at work. For employers, this means providing a safe working environment and the education necessary to teach employees how to be safe around the job. Employees, on the other hand, have a responsibility to follow these rules and not perform their duties in an unsafe or negligent manner.
Here are some of the ways that both employees and employers can help prevent accidents at work.
Most worker compensation cases deal with fatigue as a major factor to the accident. When workers are tired, they aren’t paying as much attention to their work or their surroundings. This may cause them to make mistakes they wouldn’t usually make if they were awake and alert, which could put themselves, or other employees, in harm’s way. When workers are tired, they aren’t paying as much attention to their work or their surroundings. This may cause them to make mistakes they wouldn’t usually make if they were awake and alert, which could put themselves, or other employees, in harm’s way.
Employers: Make sure that you are giving employees enough breaks throughout the day to recuperate and rest. Providing snacks, coffee, water, and other items can also help keep employees hydrated and alert.
Employees: Avoid behaviors that can contribute to fatigue, like not getting enough sleep or working too many hours in a row. If you are feeling fatigued, don’t be afraid to ask for a small break to rest.
Taking Your Time
Time is money, which is why many employees and employers push for speed and efficiency. Yet, sometimes rushing to complete a job means increasing the potential risk for injury. That’s because when we’re focused on getting the job done as quick as possible, we’re not thinking about safety.
Employers: You want to push your employees to perform to your expectations (ideally, beyond them). But, it is crucial always to encourage safety when performing job duties. After all, even if the work is done quickly, a rushed job doesn’t ensure quality work. So, create a company culture where the quality of work and safety are placed above speed.
Employees: A lot of employees have a hard time communicating with their employer when they need more time on a project. They don’t want to fall below their boss’ expectations. However, your manager may not be aware of exactly how involved the process is or what a reasonable timeline for the task should be. When you ask for more time, merely cite that you want to ensure the work is quality and that you don’t push yourself beyond your means. Your employer should never fault you for trying to perform your duties safely.
Providing Safety Gear
Some jobs are more dangerous than others and require physical gear to remain safe and avoid accidents. This equipment could come in the form of safety glasses, reflective wear, protective headgear, thicker footwear, and clothing, etc. It is designed to protect you from the potentially dangerous elements of your job.
Employers: First and foremost is providing this gear to your employees. In most cases, this is required by law. However, you should also develop a strict dress code that clearly dictates what employees must wear to remain safe on the job. Make this dress code absolutely mandatory and reprimand employees that don’t follow it correctly.
Employees: Wearing safety gear when necessary or required is the primary step to preventing workplace accidents. You also want to be in the habit of informing your employer when your safety gear begins to wear down or break. You don’t want to have faulty safety equipment be the cause of an accident at work.
Offering Safety Training & Resources
Beyond physical safety gear, it’s also important that employees know and understand how to act in their role and around the workplace safely. Safety training should be mandatory in any job environment. It will train employees of the potential risks that can cause accidents and how to avoid them properly.
Employers: Not only should you offer any and all necessary safety training, as well as keep resources on hand for employees to refer to, but you should also encourage that this training happens routinely. People can forget information or the latest safety guidelines can change. By requiring safety training occur annually (or even more often than that), you guarantee that your employees have the latest safety information and education available to them.
Employees: Sometimes safety training can feel a little silly or ridiculous, especially if you’re asked to repeat it each year, but it really should be taken seriously. You never know what situation may arise and if you don’t remember your training, you could be the reason a workplace accident occurs!
Remaining safe at the workplace and preventing accidents is a full-time commitment. Employees and their employers should work together and actively explore and communicate new ways to make the job site safer and less prone to accidents.