Overexertion, unsafe conditions and repetitive motions all contribute to serious workplace injuries. According to the National Safety Council, a U.S. worker suffers a job-related injury every seven seconds, a total of about 4.6 million workplace incidents every year.
Keep yourself safe and prevent debilitating injury with these four safety strategies:
- Wear protective equipment
If your job requires the use of safety gear, make sure you have the right equipment and that it fits you properly. Depending on the workplace, gear may include gloves, goggles, helmets, hard hats, safety shoes, eye protection and ear protection. Let your supervisor know right away about issues with your assigned safety equipment.
- Keep your work area clean
Slip-and-fall accidents are common at work, and cluttered floors and walkways pose a major danger. Whether you have a cubicle in an office or you work in a warehouse or industrial setting, clear all loose objects, boxes and debris away from walkways and stack safely in a storage area. Wayward wires and computer cables can cause an injury if you trip and fall. Wipe up spills right away and let others know when the floor is slippery.
- Use proper positioning
If you regularly lift cargo and heavy equipment at your job, make sure you know how to protect your spine. Bear the weight with your legs rather than with your back. If you work at a desk, use ergonomic positioning to maintain a healthy posture at your computer. This can help prevent repetitive stress injuries and conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Avoid shortcuts
Your workplace has safety procedures designed to keep employees safe, so make sure to use those protocols whenever appropriate. Cutting corners on safety can cause serious injuries.
If you notice something unsafe in your workspace, let your supervisor and human resources department know about the danger. If the company dismisses your concerns, you have the right to refuse work in dangerous conditions. Report the situation and any retaliation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.