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Stay Safe on the Job

Common Workplace Hazards and How to Avoid Them

A productive work environment should also be safe. Unfortunately, many everyday hazards can lurk in the workplace, waiting to cause injury or illness. By familiarizing yourself with these common risks and taking preventative measures, you can ensure a smooth and healthy workday for yourself and your colleagues.

1. Mind Your Step: Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common workplace hazards, and while they may not always result in serious injury, they can still cause pain and disruption. Here’s how to minimize the risk:

  • Clear walkways: Clutter, spills, and loose cords are tripping hazards. Please report them to the appropriate personnel immediately.
  • Beware of wet surfaces: Look out for spills and tracked-in water, and use caution in frequently wet areas, like restrooms or break rooms.
  • Wear appropriate footwear: Shoes with good traction are essential, especially in areas with grease, water, or uneven surfaces.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Don’t walk and talk or text on your phone while navigating the workplace. Pay attention to where you’re going and watch out for unexpected obstacles.

2. Power Up to Safety: Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards can cause serious injuries or even death. Here are some essential safety practices to remember:

  • Never overload outlets: This can cause overheating and fire.
  • Don’t use damaged cords or plugs: Report any frayed wires or faulty equipment to your supervisor for immediate repair or replacement.
  • Unplug electronics before cleaning or maintenance: This reduces the risk of shock.
  • Only operate machinery for which you are trained: Avoid using unfamiliar equipment, especially electrical tools.

3. Lift Smart, Not Hard: Proper Lifting Techniques

Improper lifting is a significant cause of back injuries. Here’s how to protect yourself when lifting objects:

  • Bend at your knees, not your back: Squat down to pick up an object, keeping your back straight and core engaged.
  • Get a good grip: Ensure you have a firm hold on the object before lifting.
  • Lift with your legs: Use your leg muscles to do the heavy lifting, not your back.
  • Don’t lift above your shoulders: If the object is too heavy or awkward to lift comfortably, seek help from a coworker or use proper lifting equipment.

4. See Something, Say Something: Reporting Unsafe Situations

It’s essential to speak up if you see something that could cause harm. Here’s what to do:

  • Report unsafe conditions to your supervisor immediately. This could be anything from a leaking pipe to a damaged ladder.
  • If the hazard needs to be addressed promptly, report it to the appropriate health and safety representative.
  • Be bold and speak up for your safety and the safety of your colleagues. A safe work environment benefits everyone.

By following these simple tips and fostering a culture of safety awareness, you can significantly reduce the risk of workplace injuries and create a more positive work environment for all. Remember, staying safe on the job is a shared responsibility.