Taking precautions to reduce workplace injuries is an important step in ensuring the health and safety of your employees. Although some injuries are unavoidable, others can be prevented with a series of safety precautions and protocols. Before you develop your list of safety precautions, identify areas of concern in your office or facility.
Trip and Fall Hazards
Employees are at increased danger of tripping and falling if boxes, machinery, piles of papers and other items are stacked in hallways, walkways and common areas. Prevent tripping hazards by requiring employees to immediately put away shipments of supplies as soon as they arrive. Buy additional file cabinets and ask employees to file papers daily, rather than letting them pile up on the floor. Inspect floors regularly for signs of wear that can cause falls, and repair worn or damaged areas immediately. Use caution signs to alert employees that the floor is wet if someone mops up after a spill or leak.
Train employees before allowing them to operate machinery. Accidents can happen when employees don’t use guards on machinery or reach into a machine without first turning it off. Discuss the high potential for injury when employees don’t follow basic safety procedures and remind employees that the company requires that they follow all of the safety protocols. Explain your policy of using of hard hats, goggles, safety shoes and other protective gear when employees work with machinery, chemicals or are on construction sites. Instruct employees on the proper way to lift heavy items and tell them to ask for help if an item is too heavy to handle safely. Follow up with employees periodically to ensure that they are following safety protocols.
Long hours spent hunched over a computer screen can result in a variety of injuries, ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to back pain to bursitis. The Inc. website says that these types of injuries can cause chronic conditions that may result in higher rates of lost work time. Reduce the chance of ergonomic injuries by providing chairs that offer sufficient lumbar support and allow the employee’s feet to reach the floor when seated. Place computer monitors at eye level to reduce neck pain. Advise employees to stand up and stretch at regular intervals to reduce and prevent aching muscles.
Inspect powered equipment and the electrical system regularly for problem areas that could cause a fire. Use extension cords sparingly and never under carpeting. In addition to being a trip and fall hazard, stacks of paper in hallways and walkways also are a fire hazard. Mark fire exits and distribute and post maps noting all fire exits. Hold regular fire drills to ensure that employees know what to do in case of fire. Designate meeting places outside the building for all departments in case of fire. The Seattle.gov website suggests giving evacuated employees meeting places far from the building to avoid the danger of falling debris and to give firefighters plenty of room to work.
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