When you work in hazardous places like factories or attend to construction projects, there is a high risk of injury. According to the CDC, about 1.8 million American workers suffered a work-related injury in 2020 and required rushing to the emergency room. These statistics show that there is still work to be done to ensure most workplaces are safe from hazards. If precautions are not taken, employees can still be injured, which does not bode well for any business.
As an employee, there are many ways in which you can protect yourself from being harmed at work. This may include engaging management and providing valuable suggestions on what they can do to further advance your cause. So if you head to work today, here are some workplace mishaps you can mitigate:
- Get regular health screenings
When you work on construction sites, there is a high probability that you will be exposed to harmful fumes and dust. This is because when you are drilling, using power tools, and working with insulation, tiling, or handling rusted old equipment, you may be breathing in the harmful microfibers like asbestos from these locations. Asbestos is a microscopic fiber that tends to collect in your lungs and cause serious suffering. Although this posed a massive health hazard, it was a popular element in most older construction equipment and buildings. As a result, you will learn if you are doing well physically or if you have certain hidden diseases like mesothelioma that you are unaware of. This rare and aggressive cancer is mainly caused by overexposure to harmful particles such as asbestos.
If you need help and support to understand and treat this painful condition, visit mesotheliomahope.com and learn more about what you can do to save yourself. The more often you check yourself, the better you will know how well you are doing and if you need further testing. A doctor can also help you filter your blood from harmful substances like lead that you may breathe in at work or accidentally ingest.
- Recommend training seminars
Your company’s management must organize training before you start working in potentially hazardous locations. These workshops aim to educate workers on how to use equipment safely, ensure the job site is safe and mitigate risks. For example, the manager can train you to safely start and store heavy-duty equipment and machinery to prevent damage and injury.
The training session can also teach you the importance of wearing protective gear and removing it safely when finished. You can also learn to pick up heavy objects, clean up after yourself, and administer first aid when a worker collapses. Every company has a different training workshop.
But as long as the program is comprehensive, describes potential hazards you may encounter, and trains you on how to deal with them, you have enough information to stay safe. You should repeat these training courses regularly to stay up to date. After some time, attend one on device maintenance.
- Never use machines without prior verification
Before you start a machine or back up a vehicle, you must inspect the area. Make sure no one is near you or in a safe place to avoid hurting yourself and others. There are many cases where workers have accidentally hit a pedestrian or fatally injured their co-workers by not paying attention to their surroundings.
Therefore, establish certain guidelines for yourself, such as making sure the machine is in good condition and undamaged before turning it on to prevent an explosion. Familiarizing yourself with all the buttons, including the emergency stop, will help so you don’t get upset in the event of an accident.
If you drive a large truck, install reflective mirrors, bright lights, and an audible alarm system so bystanders will know if you’re reversing and approaching them. Always avoid main roads and crowded areas.
- Clean up after you’re done
Tidying up a workspace after you’ve completed your tasks for the day is essential. If you leave loose equipment lying around, ignore puddles, and forget to clean up residual dust, you end up making your workplace dangerous. So start your organization by getting all the equipment in place. When shutting down large machines, follow safe shutdown guidelines and do not simply unplug an active device.
It would be helpful if you wiped down and sterilized the area daily to prevent bacterial and viral growth and reduce workplace contamination. When you’ve cleaned up around you, do the dishes too. Dust, chemicals, and various biohazards can get stuck on your clothing. Therefore, make sure that the management has organized a sanitary facility for you. These should have portable toilets and access to showers so you can wash them. Dispose of all protective equipment in the designated place daily to get rid of the garbage in a timely manner.
Every construction site has specific requirements for your clothing. You can’t show up in your most casual outfits when trying to work on a dangerous construction site. Shoes like heels, casual flats and slippers are not for construction sites. So wear the right boots, overalls and shirts that give you enough freedom of movement without your sleeves getting caught in the machines. Also, you should not wear accessories or objects that you can drop while working. If you have glasses, secure them with a lanyard as well, or wear prescription safety goggles. Let your supervisor know if you have hearing aids or other devices that may interact with the machines around you.
When it comes to workplace hazards, you need to protect yourself. Being too careless or reckless in your work can result in many injuries, some of which can be fatal. Take care of your health to ensure you don’t accidentally injure yourself or get sick at work. This includes regular screenings, participation in workplace safety programs, and checking equipment and the environment before starting work. You should also tidy up and organize yourself after work is done and never show up at a dangerous job site without the right equipment.