Knowing, understanding and following safety procedures in your workplace is necessary to protect yourself, fellow employees, visitors and customers. Make sure that your employees know how to report unsafe conditions as soon as they become apparent and make safety the first consideration in every situation. Here are some general guidelines:
1. Create written safety policies
Safety policies should be documented in your Employee Handbook and reviewed with staff annually. Written protocols will help employees to stay safe and know how to report unsafe conditions before they cause accidents.
2. Prevent slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls are a leading cause of injuries involving days away from work, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help prevent slip, trip and fall incidents:
- Never leave an unsafe condition unguarded or unmarked, even temporarily.
- Keep your work area clean and free of loose objects, including wires or slipping hazards.
- Be aware of walking surfaces and their condition. Extra care may be required to prevent an accident especially in wet or damp conditions.
- Report and clean up spills and leaks.
- Keep aisles and exits clear of items.
- Replace worn, ripped or damage flooring.
- Keep aisles, stairways, emergency exits, electrical panels and doors clear of clutter.
- Safely dispose of materials, papers and products that are no longer needed.
3. Eliminate fire hazards
- Know location of fire extinguishers and know how to use them.
- Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations.
- Keep passageways and fire doors free of obstructions.
- Do not store items in stairwells and keep stairwell doors closed.
4. Know correct lifting and carrying techniques
- Do not reach too high for something that may fall on you. Use a small set of steps, a ladder, or ask for help.
- When it is necessary to climb—use a ladder, not a chair, stool, desk or box. Be sure the ladder is secured.
- When picking up a heavy object, evaluate whether or not you need help or special equipment.
- Do not lift a heavy load alone if you have any doubt of your ability to lift it. Use proper lifting techniques to prevent injury.
Supervisors should encourage employees to be safety conscious and employees must accept responsibility for their own safety. When your staff is knowledgeable about safety protocols they will be able to avoid accidents and help everyone to stay safe.