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Personal safety and responsibility

Taking charge

Author: Dee Jones/13 September 2017/Categories: WORKPLACE ADVICE, A safe, clean environment

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We've written a few posts discussing employer obligations when it comes to providing a safe workplace for employees. Sufficient training and supervision, equipment suited to the task at hand and implementation of procedures are all part of the process. In the end, however, it comes down to the individual employee to work responsibly, employ correct equipment and act in a safe manner at work.

We all have days when we are pressed for time or have a seemingly insurmountable amount of tasks to complete, and it's at these times it becomes tempting to cut corners. However, if we fail to follow procedures properly, we put not only ourselves but also our fellow workers at risk.

Some easily avoidable examples are:

  1. Not lowering forks on lifting trucks after loading
    While you may save a few seconds, the raised forks make the vehicle unbalanced and prone to tipping, endangering not only yourself but also any other people in the vicinity.
  2. Using the wrong equipment for the job
    We've discussed ladder safety, for one example, and the fact that different types of ladders are suited to different kinds of jobs. Over-reaching, using ladders that are in poor repair or too short for the job at hand, or working without a safety harness in high areas are all ways to increase the risk of accident.
  3. Incorrect storage of hazardous substances
    Making sure hazardous substances are stored securely and separately from other items is part of health and safety regulations. Also, work clothing that may have come into contact with such substances needs to be stored separately from other clothing items, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination. Taking a few moments to ensure both these things are done properly is essential to reduce the risk of exposure or contamination.
  4. Taking short cuts or not following procedures
    All areas of your business should have proper procedures in place, such as limiting the amount of workers in a certain place at a certain time, for example at a loading dock when materials are being loaded or unloaded. Barriers designed to separate workers from on-site vehicles should not be disregarded, while ignoring proper procedures to save a few minutes is not worth the risk.

There are many other ways to avoid risk of personal injury in the workplace. Take a look at your own practice and see if there are areas where you could implement more care in what you do. Working with your employer to minimise risk, implement proper procedures and avoid situations that put you or your fellow workers at risk is part of responsible workplace behaviour.


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