Every workplace comes with its dangers, but some are more dangerous than others. Whether you work in a warehouse, factory, mill, plant, or even a standard office, be aware of your surroundings and the safety issues of your workspace. To help you get a better idea of how to protect life and limb in the workplace, here’s how to stay safe in a hazardous work environment.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Communication is everything when it comes to safety. Ensure the public address system is functioning and ready to alert all workers in times of danger. Walkie-talkies or similar communication devices should be provided to all employees, along with training on what to watch for and the information that rescuers, emergency personnel, and cleanup crews need when dealing with an accident or similar occurrence. Run monthly drills to keep employees aware of what to do in case of an emergency. Finally, make sure there’s plenty of clear and detailed signage available to instruct, direct, and warn workers about places to avoid or take extra precautions around.
Be Aware of Hazardous Areas
Every workplace has extra hazardous areas. Do you know where they are in your facility? You should. Look for the literal warning signs and ask your supervisor for a breakdown of places to avoid or the procedures required for working in those areas. By law, you should receive special training and be required to wear special personal protective equipment (PPE) when operating in these areas. Make sure you know the location of nearby first aid stations and how to respond in case of an accident (for example, a chemical spill). Report any unsafe conditions in these areas, including spills, broken equipment, and the like.
Keep Things Clean
Safety depends more on cleanliness than you’d think. Don’t put off cleaning up an area, dumping the trash, rearranging fallen materials, and so on. Sometimes, a small mess can lead to big disasters. Remove tripping hazards or objects that can interfere with forklifts or similar equipment. Sweep up or wipe up flammable materials like sawdust, oil, greasy rags, and similar items that can easily go up in flames. Realign pallets and inventory that’s ready to topple off shelving. Remove the possibility of danger wherever you see it.
Stay Well-Rested and Alert
Here’s the last of our tips for how to stay safe in a hazardous work environment. While working hard and going above and beyond your duties is admirable, never do it to the detriment of your health or your ability to concentrate. Take breaks, use downtime to recharge your batteries, and be aware of your limits. If you come to work exhausted and bleary, you’re bound to make mistakes, so get a full night’s sleep every night. Stretch before performing difficult physical tasks, and while a jolt of caffeine is nice, don’t over-caffeinate. Stay physically and mentally fit so you can recognize hazards or react swiftly to them to avoid injury.