A Safe Workplace Begins with You

March 28, 2017 - Lacey Fair


Think about being in a room with two dozen other manufacturing workers. Statistically, at least one of you will be injured this year. Scary, right?


The numbers show that safety doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and it stops being an upper management concern when your own life is at risk. 3 million people are injured in the workplace every year. Even worse, nearly 1,000 construction workers die each year while on the job. But it’s not all doom and gloom. By concentrating on the following four areas, a manufacturing worker can have a long career in a safe workplace.


Stay Focused

You’ve probably heard the phrase “pay attention” so often while growing up that it has lost meaning. However, in a manufacturing or industrial environment, failure to pay attention means putting your life in danger. It all begins with formal safety training sessions. These should not be viewed as extra breaks, but rather as a time for extra focus. When on-the-job risks are high, listening to trainers and reading training manuals in full can keep you from becoming a statistic.


Situational awareness in a manufacturing setting is a lifesaver. The same routine tasks might go without incident for 10 years, and then one careless moment can change your life forever. Many times, it’s the simple tasks that you’ve done hundreds of times a week that cause an injury. Overexertion is the leading cause of work injuries, and that includes regular tasks such as lifting, carrying, and throwing.


Making an effort to think about what you’re doing and taking the time to complete tasks properly, without skipping procedures or cutting corners, ensures better safety for you and your coworkers. Putting more thought into your actions may even help you think of a safety improvement to suggest to your supervisor, which is a valuable career skill to keep you ahead of the curve.


Ask Questions

The safest workers are those who are not afraid to ask questions. Most management does not look down on questions, and actually views them as signs of a productive and engaged employee. If anything is unclear to you, whether during safety training or a process on the job, bring it up. It simply isn’t safe to be confused about a procedure and not worth the risk. If you’re uncomfortable asking a supervisor, at the very least begin by asking coworkers. Ultimately, questions are not only a great way to keep you safe, but also help you succeed in a new job.


Report Accidents Immediately

Smaller factory accidents are sometimes treated like tiny fender benders in parking lots, viewed as not worth the time it takes to report them. The reality is that every workplace accident or injury should be reported to a supervisor, no matter how severe it is, because it can be the cause of a larger accident or hidden health issue down the line. The more time that goes by before reporting it, the harder it is for appropriate preventive actions to be taken.


Likewise, 67% of employees do not report work-related pain. Even if it isn’t an accident that happens in one specific moment, any injury or buildup of pain should be disclosed. It is your responsibility as an employee to communicate the specifics of an injury or accident you witnessed to management, and from there they can take over to prevent future harm.


Dress for Safety

Sometimes it’s the simplest precautions that can make all the difference. While everyone knows they should be wearing any safety equipment they were provided, it is all too easy to dismiss that gear when it becomes uncomfortable or feels unnecessary in the moment. If management has provided you with any uniform pieces, whether it be a hardhat, goggles, mask, or ear plugs, do not treat these as just suggestions. Wear them every day even if your coworkers have stopped wearing them. It’s the only way to ensure a safe workplace and a long manufacturing career.


Contributing to a Safe Workplace

Everyone knows manufacturing and industrial environments are dangerous settings, but not everyone treats them that way. Taking safety seriously will not only keep you healthy and productive in the long run, but it will help you stand out as an employee and can be a job seeking boost. Lastly, partnering with a staffing firm that works with safe companies promoting healthy environments is an excellent way to find a job that you can work for years to come.


To locate a safe work environment for your next job, reach out to us today.


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