June is National Safety Month, so TargetSolutions has put together some of the most common workplace safety concerns and prevention methods.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that in 2016, an average of 14 workers were killed while on the job each day. Many more were seriously injured. While no one wants to see their employees get injured, it can also cost agencies money and penalties.
Most workplace accidents and injuries are preventable if you follow some sensible precautions and conform to OSHA compliance training standards. Here are some of the most common workplace safety concerns of which you should always be aware.
7 Most Common Workplace Safety Concerns
Cluttered Work Environment
Clutter not only makes your work area look messy, it’s a serious safety hazard. Many accidents occur when workers trip over objects such as cables, building materials, furniture and random debris. You can make your workplace much safer by cleaning up and putting everything that’s not being used in its proper place. An especially dangerous type of clutter involves heavy items that can fall on workers. Make sure shelving is secure and not overloaded. Another tip to keep in mind is to always clean up spills promptly.
Workers Falling from Heights
There’s always a certain amount of danger associated with working from heights. Whether employees are on ladders or scaffolding, you have to do everything possible to secure the equipment and area. Make sure all safety equipment is in good condition. Secure railings can prevent many accidents on roofs and other high workplaces.
Unsafe Use of Equipment
Many accidents occur when employees use defective tools and machinery or when they use equipment in an unsafe manner. Many injuries, for example, occur due to unsafe operation of forklifts. Workers often use these dangerous machines too quickly in an effort to increase efficiency. Make sure you emphasize that while productivity is crucial, safety always comes first.
Faulty and out-of-date wiring and improper use of extension cords are some of the dangers that can cause electrocution. For example, tying together multiple extension cords is a dangerous practice that can cause shorts and electrical shocks. Make sure all power equipment is running properly and plugged into appropriate and up-to-date outlets. Electrical cords with damaged or missing insulation are another type of hazard. As a rule, extension cords are made for temporary use. If necessary, hire an electrician and have secure outlets installed.
Toxic Chemicals and Fumes
Substances that are toxic when touched by the skin or breathed in are another way that employees can become ill. First of all, make sure you’re aware of any substances that pose a health risk. This includes common workplace substances such as sawdust, insulation, gasoline and paint as well as many others. Make sure work areas are well ventilated and that employees wear proper protection such as masks and gloves when such substances are present. Keep in mind that some of the harmful effects of toxic substances are cumulative so employees may not get sick immediately.
Not Properly Controlling Hazardous Energy
OSHA publishes an important set of guidelines for the control of hazardous energy. This refers to electrical, hydraulic, thermal, chemical or another type of energy that’s potentially hazardous to workers. One of the most important ways to address this is through proper lockout/tagout procedures. Serious injuries can occur when equipment is not shut down at the appropriate time. This can be caused by faulty equipment as well as carelessness and an inefficient process. Employees should be thoroughly trained on safety procedures for controlling hazardous energy.
3 Ways to Prevent Workplace Injury
OSHA Safety Training
TargetSolutions’ online OSHA training courses can be used to help comply with OSHA and other federal and state regulatory agency training mandates. Complete required OSHA compliance training courses online, you can eliminate many of the logistical issues inherent in traditional training methods. TargetSolutions’ OSHA & Compliance courses cover the following categories:
- General Safety
- Environmental Awareness
- Human Resources
- Supervisor-related Course Topics
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment or PPE can be necessary for some employees to wear. Employers make the decision on whether PPE is necessary. Clearly communicate and reinforce the need for workers to wear PPE and why it’s important for them to wear this equipment.
There are resources available to workers to reach out to and access if they have concerns. Several fire insurance and workers’ compensation insurance carriers offer complimentary inspection programs. OSHA does, too. Check with your employer to understand what resources are available to you.
These are a few of the main way to prevent workplace injury. Another way to prevent injuries is to have a culture that stresses a safe environment. Managers and supervisors should follow the safety guidelines in place, so employees will follow suit.
We’ve covered some of the most common workplace safety hazards that all business owners, managers and supervisors need to pay attention to. Make sure you’re up to date on OSHA compliance training and all safety protocols relevant for your industry.
Make 2018 your safest year, yet. See how TargetSolutions can help you reduce injuries and reach your safety goals this year. For more information about our online safety training, download our OSHA Training Course Catalog today.