Never cut corners when it comes to safety in the workplace

Raley, Watts, & O'Neill, MD, Workers' CompensationSome employees are happy to take chances when it comes to safety. They take needless risks in an effort to save time or cut their work load. In reality, all they’re doing is subjecting themselves and others to hazards that could cause a serious injury.

Workers form bad habits when they repeatedly perform their jobs in an unsafe way and don’t get injured. They become convinced that because of their skills they are incapable of being hurt. It’s this attitude that usually ends up doing them in, because they take even more chances until eventually a serious accident does occur. Unfortunately, that one accident can turn out to be fatal.

Most of a chance-taker’s careless acts can be broken down into one of the following categories:

  • Failing to follow proper job procedure
  • Cleaning, oiling, adjusting, or repairing equipment that is moving, electrically energized, or pressurized
  • Failing to use available personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, and hard hats
  • Failing to wear safe personal attire
  • Failing to secure or warn about hazards
  • Using equipment improperly
  • Making safety devices inoperable
  • Operating or working at unsafe speeds
  • Taking an unsafe position or posture
  • Placing, mixing, or combining tools and materials unsafely
  • Using tools or equipment known to be unsafe
  • Engaging in horseplay

Although OSHA does not cite employees for safety violations, each employee is obliged to comply with all applicable OSHA standards, rules, regulations, and orders. Employee responsibilities and rights in states with their own occupational safety and health programs are generally the same as for workers in states covered by Federal OSHA.

Employees should follow these guidelines:

  • Read OSHA notices at the jobsite
  • Comply with all applicable OSHA standards
  • Follow all lawful employer health and safety rules and regulations, and wear or use prescribed protective equipment while working
  • Report hazardous conditions to a supervisor
  • Report any job-related injury or illness to the employer, and seek treatment promptly
  • Exercise these rights in a responsible manner

If you are working with a risk-taker, ask him to stop and consider what jeopardy he is putting himself and others in. Then buddy up with him to find a safer way to perform the task. Remember, unsafe actions don’t result in saving time if a worker gets injured in the process.

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