Considering the huge portion of our lives that we spend at work (did I just hear a sigh?), it is little wonder that improving workplace safety is always a priority amongst both employers and employees. And it is not just a concern for high-risk industries, such as manufacturing, mining and construction.
In the Australian Bureau of Statistics' most recent 'Work-Related Injuries' publication, it stated that 640,700 people in Australia experienced a work-related injury or illness in 2009-2010. So, here are five quick tips to improve your safety at work, regardless of where that may be.
According to the Queensland Government, more than 13,000 Queensland workers suffer an injury due to a slip, trip or fall each year. In many instances, these are very simple and avoidable accidents. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our colleagues to keep an eye out for any potential hazards. These hazards can occur anywhere, so it is essential to be alert at all times. A slip of the mind can lead to, well, an actual slip.
Good communication is not just the catchphrase of any relationship expert - it is necessary to ensure your workplace safety as well! It is not enough just to see a potential hazard and do nothing about it. You must also bring it to the attention of the relevant people in your workplace to ensure that the risk is resolved. Completing a written report may also be necessary.
Furthermore, if you have general concerns or queries regarding workplace safety, speak to the relevant person within your company. Employers should also diligently communicate with their employees on a regular basis about any safety or emergency plans that are in place.
Beyond any interoffice communication concerning workplace safety, you may also need to take the initiative to check that your rights are not being exploited at work. This is particularly pertinent to maintaining a safe working environment. If you are questioning your safety at work, perhaps have a look at resources such as Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and Safe Work Australia to find out more information.
When you are about to undertake work that requires certain safety equipment, make sure that you use all of it. It may sound obvious, but when pressed for time, it is sometimes easy to take shortcuts and adopt the "she'll be right" attitude. However, this can quickly have dangerous consequences. Those few extra seconds that are spent taking the right precautions may save you a lot of pain and suffering in the future.
It is also essential to only use equipment that you are trained or qualified to use and to check that it is in safe working order.
This is the news you have been waiting for - it is time to take a break! But before you go packing your suitcase, hear me out. A recent study by the Australian Institute found that around one in three workers no longer routinely take a lunch break, predominantly due to work pressure. However, these people were found to have heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
Work-related stress is a serious workplace health and safety issue. It can have grave health implications for the worker. Fatigue can also have very negative effects and can lead to workplace injuries. That is why it is important to make a conscious effort to regular breaks at work. This will hopefully increase your concentration levels and decrease stress levels.If these five quick tips are followed, you should be well on your way to staying safe at work!