Workplace injuries are a depressingly common problem. The latest available report from the Bureau of Labor Statistic (from 2016) stated that nearly 3 out of every 100 full-time employees sustained non-fatal injuries at work. With so many injuries causing pain, disability, and absenteeism, both employees and employers are suffering. But while employers hold the final responsibility for maintaining safe working conditions, it’s also up to you, the employee, to make whatever contribution you can toward making your working environment a safer one.
A safer workplace hinges on well-trained workers. In addition to making sure you and your coworkers are completely up to speed on the approved procedures for doing your jobs, make a point of reading the employment safety guidelines thoroughly. If you see any gaps in the safety procedures or protocols (such as insufficient instructions or inadequate safety clothing), bring them to the attention of your supervisors so they can correct the oversight and re-train the workforce on the revised routines.
Safe work practices extend to looking out for your own individual well-being. If you have a physical job that requires heavy lifting, for instance, take care to lift from the knees without stooping over. If your work requires constantly stretching, stooping or twisting, ask your supervisor if you can move computers or furniture into a more ergonomic layout.
Even the safest group and individual work practices can be undercut by unsafe equipment. Don’t wait for the maintenance team to identify that wobbly ladder or the strange noise coming from your company vehicle. If you notice a problem, report it to the appropriate people and let co-workers know about the potential danger.
Like so many other job activities, preventing injuries at work is a team effort. Take the initiative to help your colleagues and employer enjoy a safer, healthier workplace.