Workplace safety is a crucial consideration for all businesses whether you are managing them or not. The last thing you want is for you or your colleagues to be injured on the job, especially if the accident was something that easily could’ve been avoided. Not only will the injury potentially put an employee out of commission for a few hours or even days, but it could lead to them suing your business for negligence or even leaving due to their experiences.
So to avoid these situations in the first place, we must learn to identify and deal with potential workplace threats before they become an issue. And in order to do that, we have to first understand what to look out for.
Machine-related hazards and threats
Depending on the type of business that you operate, you might find that you have a number of different machine-related hazards and threats.
This can range from anything like physical damage to issues caused by chemicals and gasses like radon that you use in your daily operations. But what is radon and how would employees be exposed to it? While it’s a relatively niche consideration, radon is a radioactive gas that can seep into basically any kind of building material or water. It’s hard to detect, but can often be found in underground spaces like basements. While we can’t even see or smell it, it’s currently seen as the second largest contributor to lung cancer next to smoking.
There are other similar threats that are related to our buildings or the machines we use. For instance, any kind of workshop will likely have power tools and large engineering machines that could potentially cause damage if they aren’t used correctly. This is why it’s extremely important to have extensive training in these machines before an employee is allowed to use them. It’s vital that everyone understands the dangers of these machines before using them, and that they respect them by ensuring they are clothed properly and practice the right safety measures.
These threats can be difficult to identify, so it’s vital that you take a deep look into the machines you purchase and the overall safety and condition of the building that you work in. These two areas will cause the majority of machine and environment-related threats, and you’ll be able to give your employees peace of mind and assurance that you’re looking out for their safety.
Another common area where you should look out for your staff and yourself is in ergonomics. This is usually something like the chairs you sit on and the computers that you work on. Over time, you can build up different kinds of injuries to your bones and muscles due to how uncomfortable it can be to perform your tasks.
For instance, typing a lot can often introduce wrist-related issues, but these can be mitigated with proper seating that leads to good posture, and it may also help to use a wrist rest in some cases to keep your hands from being in an uncomfortable position for too long.
Ergonomics can also affect people who are occasionally active in the workplace. For example, if some of your employees have to do a bit of heavy lifting now and then, such as carrying large boxes around the workplace or to a warehouse, then it’s important for them to practice a good lifting technique in order to protect their back.
Lastly, we also have to acknowledge the possibility of customers causing workplace problems. It’s not uncommon for your staff to be antagonized by staff, and there may be cases where they need to defend themselves both from threats of violence and physical altercations.
In order to establish a safe and comfortable workplace, you’ll have to identify if there’s a high possibility of customers causing issues in the first place. For instance, it might be less likely if you don’t interact with customers on a face-to-face basis. However, it’ll be a lot more common in the service industry where your staff need to hand customers their orders, or if they work on the shop floor next to the customers as they browse and buy items.
Training can be helpful to help defuse potential arguments and rough situations. Depending on the area in which the business is located, it may be helpful to have tighter security measures as well, such as CCTV, alarms systems, and potentially even barriers to protect staff from being harassed by people.