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Workplace Safety Hazards: Look For These Red Flags

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Keep Your Head on a Swivel

Your health and safety have to always be kept in mind, no matter what your job duties entail. While of course, the overall workplace safety is the responsibility of your employer, you should always be observant. Don’t only pay attention to your surroundings and coworkers, keep your eyes peeled for other signs that safety could possibly be an issue.

Evaluate Your Environment

The overall workplace safety starts with the actual working conditions. A poorly maintained building or equipment can be huge risks for workplace accidents. Something as simple as a leaky roof can result in electrical shorts, fires, or slip and fall accidents and older equipment should be regularly inspected for loose connections or wires, screws, fasteners, and any sharp corners or other defects.

Of course, your employer should always supply necessary safety gear and accessories such as steel toe boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and yellow vests. However, you should also be on the lookout for inappropriate gear such as loose clothing, unsafe footwear, dangling jewelry, dangerously long, unmaintained hair, and other easy-to-overlook practices that could be accidents waiting to happen.

A HUGE Workplace Safety Red Flag

If upper management doesn’t appear to address serious safety concerns or violations, especially employees who repeatedly violate policy or operate in unsafe manners, you definitely have a reason for concern. Employers should always immediately handle safety violations as it’s important for everyone to see the consequences of breaches in the policy.

An employer that allows unsafe workers to continue without repercussions not only sends a message that the company is not that serious about workplace safety, but it also puts you and everyone else at risk.

An Obvious Red Flag

If your workplace doesn’t have a regular inspection routine in place and/or doesn’t have a set safety policy, you should definitely be wary. An inspection and safety policy can help reinforce the company’s attitude towards safety and help ensure that the expectations and rules are known and practiced by the rest of the organization. Without written policies in place, employees will likely be unaware of the guidelines that they should be following and may even feel that safety just isn’t an important factor.

Taking The Safety Policy a Step Further

f you’re in a position or industry with higher probabilities of accidents or injuries, the company should also have safety training on a regular basis. Safety training will teach new employees how to safely perform their duties in a way that is also within the company’s safety policies, and reinforce the importance of safety to veteran employees.

Companies that are serious about employee and workplace safety may also conduct regular safety audits. Audits can catch safety violations which can be quickly addressed, and they’ll add a sense of detection which can help prevent other employees from committing safety violations.

Another safety-conscious tool that many companies are employing “whistleblower” hotlines. These allow employees to anonymously report safety violations to appropriate management representatives without fear of repercussions. Employee tips can be an invaluable source for employers and it is important for staff to have an outlet to be heard when they feel that a coworker’s actions are unsafe.

Workplace Hazard Identification

One of the main reasons for workplace accidents, illnesses, incidents, and injuries is simply the failure to identify current hazards or potentially dangerous situations and/or activities. To identify hazards, both the company and employees should do the following:

  • Collect and review known and possible hazards
  • Immediately rectify trip hazards, spills, or other potentially dangerous situations
  • Conduct regular inspections to identify new or recurring hazards
  • Investigate all incidents, including close calls/near misses, and determine the hazards, causes, and any safety policy shortcomings
  • Identify trends in reported injuries, illnesses, and hazards
  • Immediately correct inappropriate or dangerous activities or behavior
  • Consider potential hazards during emergency or non-routine situations
  • Determine the severity of incidents that could result from each hazard that is identified, and prioritize corrective actions accordingly
  • Report all unsafe activities/situations
  • Always wear appropriate safety equipment and gear
  • Routinely inspect all personal safety gear and equipment

If your job duties include working with dangerous machinery, you should take your workplace safety a few steps further — for yours and your coworkers’ safety.

  • Review your equipment and machinery operating manuals
  • Read any pertinent Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that are provided by chemical manufacturers
  • Obtain records of previous injuries, such as OSHA 300 and 301 logs, as well as any reports of incident investigations
  • Speak with your coworkers, especially those that have been there awhile or previously worked in your positions
  • Review previous job safety analyses
  • Peruse online job reviews and blogs pertaining to your specific job and/or industry

Where To Turn When You’re Hurt On The Job In New York

No matter if it was a simple “freak” accident or your workplace illness/injury was caused by blatant negligence or an overlooked, ignored, or unidentified hazard when you’re hurt on the job you simply need to visit the Accident Help Zone. We’ve done the research to become New York’s #1 Accident & Injury resource center and everything you need to know is right at your fingertips.

Whether your diagnosis only has you slated to be out of work for a week or six months, you need to know your rights under New York Workers’ Compensation Law. Visit our website for everything you need to know and if you have a question that the site doesn’t answer, simply contact us and we’ll get back with you as quickly as possible with the correct answers.