Creating a Culture of Workplace Safety

Safety can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s the warmth and comfort of home, for others it’s a hefty bank balance that offers mental peace. Workplace safety, too, has different layers and the first thing we think about when it comes to safety at work is fire extinguisher training. While a very important aspect of keeping ourselves and those around us safe in the workplace, it isn’t the only means to practise good and safe habits at work. Let’s explore five ways we can practise safety in the workplace.

5 ways to observe workplace safety

1. Start small–sit properly: Safety, or for that matter, any good habit must start with ourselves, only then will it encourage others to follow suit. Most of us spend hours in front of computers, never actively peeling our eyes off the screen. In the process, we put a lot of strain on our eyes, neck, and shoulders as we are hunched over. Most days, we can’t find the time to take a walk or even stretch our legs. Long hours in front of our screens without physical exercise can take a serious toll on our health. So, take a pledge to start improving your sitting posture starting today because safety also means taking care of our body and health first.

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2. Observe your surroundings: Do you work around or with heavy machinery or equipment? If yes, the number one rule is to invest in heavy-duty and sturdy safety gear. Before you join the workplace, insist on training sessions to keep yourself and those around you safe in all settings and situations. Even if your day-to-day job involves mostly desk work, any workplace can have potential grey areas that may pose a threat to your health. Identify hazards in your workplace and inform your colleagues. Pose the threat to management and campus supervisors to eliminate possible threats.

3. Ensure emergency exits are functioning: If you’ve never had to use emergency exits in your workplace, consider yourself lucky! But, not everyone is as lucky. When emergency exits are left unused for long periods, they typically become a space to hoard office items. At any given time of day, emergency exits should be left clear and the pathways should not be crowded with things like a chest of drawers, makeshift ladders, or other decorative items.

4. Practise emotional safety: Bullying your coworkers or harassing them in verbal or non-verbal ways can make them feel highly unsafe. As the workplace is a place for professionalism, each employee must make it a space where nobody feels threatened or is afraid to come. One of the best ways to exercise emotional safety is by setting boundaries between your coworkers–share only as much as needed, especially personally, and ask only questions that respect their personal space and privacy. Another excellent way to promote emotional safety is by being a team player. Encourage your teammates by helping them when they need guidance and by also knowing when to ask for help.

5. Speak up: Be the champion of a safe and healthy work environment–you and your coworkers deserve it. We spend a significant chunk of our day at the workplace without the comfort that home offers. Staying silent about a potential health hazard, ill-placed office equipment, harassment at work and the like will only snowball into bigger problems. Every problem should be nipped in the bud and not brushed under the carpet. Coworkers should band together and find solutions for potential safety issues at work and make the workplace a wholesome, creative, and happy space to be in.

Safety at the workplace, at home, or in any setting should be of prime importance, every single day. After all, it is when we are safe that we are at ease and fully able to bring our best selves to work every day.

Reference:  8 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know | ESafety | December 20, 2022

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