Health and safety in the workplace are legal requirements for businesses. But sometimes, in the urgency to get measures into place to ensure that the work environment is compliant, the simplest aspect of safety can get overlooked.
While the overall safety of the workforce is the responsibility of one person within that organisation, it is the personal responsibility of each individual to ensure they have an awareness about their own safety to mitigate any risks.
Here is a list of the areas that you personally can take on board in order to protect the safety of yourself, and those around you.
Safety gear and protective clothing
Depending on the nature of your work environment, you must ensure that you have all the necessary clothing and gear to protect yourself against the risk of accident and injury. For example, in a heavy industrial area, or on a construction site, you need to make sure your employees are wearing non-slip steel toe-capped boots, high visibility reflective jackets, hard hats, and protective goggles.
If the work environment involves dust or debris, then a high-grade mask is necessary. If there are a preponderance of flammable substances and a heightened risk of explosion, then fire retardant clothes are essential.
And we all know from the pandemic how high-quality, PPE Personal Protective Equipment is crucial for those working in areas where there is a potential risk of contamination.
Look after battery-powered equipment
If you are working with a range of different battery-powered equipment, then there is much that you can do to ensure that they are stored, charged, and used properly. Firstly, check with your Health and Safety manager that the equipment is fitted with intrinsically safe batteries to comply with directives around the relevant ATEX certification.
Make sure that when using the equipment, you handle it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. There are different standards depending on the different sectors, whether it is mining underground, working on an oil rig, or in a manufacturing environment – check that you are compliant and that your processes and protocols are in place to guarantee conformity.
If unsure, report it!
If a situation does not look right to you, then report it. Even if there is no issue, you have done the right thing to flag it up and get it checked out. Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong – much more important that it gets checked out and given a clean bill of health, than not checked out and resulting in injury!
Clear up after yourself
Always make sure that your workstation is clean and clear of clutter, and that the area around your workstation is also kept clean and tidy to avoid any trip hazards. Not only is this an important part of health and safety, but it also reflects on the business as a whole, and makes a good strong impression on visiting clients and suppliers.
Be aware of any hazards in your vicinity. If you spot a spill, or that someone is not wearing their equipment properly, or that a piece of equipment needs repairing, report it immediately!
Self-care is not selfish
Take care of your emotional and physical well-being during the course of the day. Depending on your role, make sure that your posture and bearing support your back, neck and shoulders. Build regular breaks into your shift. If you’re working on a screen, make sure you look away regularly to avoid eye strain.
The use of heavy-duty equipment can cause HAV Hand Arm Vibration, so make sure that you use protective equipment and stay within the time parameters as set by the equipment manufacturers and your health and safety team.