Safety in the workplace isn’t just for certain industries. It encompasses all types of work and requires a thorough understanding of the possible risk factors involved.
Creating a safe work environment that is free of risks can be challenging yet it is an important aspect of being an employer or supervisor. Employees trust that their place of work will not cause them any harm and that they can go home safely at the end of the day.
Ensuring that everything is as safe as it can possibly get can put a lot of stress on the company and supervisors. However, when you’re responsible for the safety and well-being of multiple people, you need to treat the situation with appropriate severity.
Establishing a safe workplace is a demanding task that is never truly done. There are a lot of misconceptions about workplace safety that can stand in the way of truly creating a safe working environment. We’d like to look at 4 ‘myths’ that must be dissolved.
1. A completely hazard-free workplace is impossible to create.
When cultivating a work environment that is deemed hazardless, there will certainly be challenges that need to be resolved — but working out a solution is never unattainable. Creating a hazard-free workplace may be difficult in most (if not all) scenarios, but it isn’t impossible. The key to successful execution relies on a comprehensive understanding of the risk factors involved with the job, discipline in using PPE, as well as continuous monitoring and reevaluation. Situations arise, codes change, regulations are imposed, and so on and so forth. It’s important to tackle these obstacles as they surface, and implement responsive measures, so that a safe, risk free work environment comes within reach.
2. Safety is a separate department
Often safety gets isolated as “rules” that govern the various aspects of the job. As such, safety becomes an entity separate from that of the actual job; and employees will see safety as someone else’s responsibility. In reality, safety isn’t a single department that implements one or two guidelines here and there — it works in tandem with the operation of the business, intertwined with every job function. And everyone shares an accountability for safety. Getting employees to understand that safety isn’t just one rule — but rather a state of mind — is crucial to a safe work environment.
3. Safety is too expensive and/or time consuming
Taking action to avoid injury is far less expensive than dealing with one or more personal injuries, it’s as simple as that. When employers state that the budget doesn’t exist for any more safety implementations, or that they can’t afford to allocate any time, they are only seeing the short-term conditions. You’ve probably heard the term, “you have to spend money to make money”, right? Well in this case, you have to spend money to save money. Making sure that all the safety regulations and fall protection are in place and enforced, no matter the cost or time, will ensure that any potential future injury isn’t a bankrupting lawsuit waiting to happen.
4. Sometimes an accident is just an accident.
Granted, there are occasions where the only way to prevent an injury from occurring is by being able to see into the future. For example, if a construction worker is struck by lightning on a cloudless sunny day, there really isn’t much that could have been done in terms of preemptive safety regulations. However, that’s almost never the case.
Most of the time, an accident or injury was highly preventable and was caused by not following safety procedures. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the countless workers who sustained a head injury while on the job, 84% of them were not wearing a hard hat at the time of the incident. Out of 100 construction workers, 84 of them chose not to wear the proper safety attire. This means that 84 of those injuries could have been avoided by following safety protocol. So sometimes an accident is just that, an accident. Purely unavoidable, an act of God. Most of the time, though, it’s just negligence.
Safety in the workplace isn’t referring to some rule that your boss made up, and that you have to follow if you want to keep your job. It’s a mindset. As an employer and as an employee, it’s part of your job to not only adhere to safety regulations, but to adopt them.
Download Stop & Go card
To make things easier for those working at height we’ve put together a Stop and Go card. Answer the questions on the card before working at height to see if you can start your work safely. If you can answer all the questions with a ‘yes’, go are good to go. One ‘no’ and appropriate measure have to be taken to ensure safety.
This guest blog has been written by TSA – Transportation Safety Apparel (www.tsasafety.com)