Safety and health hazards are everywhere. In fact there are different levels of hazards present in almost every activity we do. For instance, driving a car presents the hazard of possibly being involved in a car crash. Furthermore, taking a shower when it is storming outside may put one at greater risk for being struck by lightning or electrocuted. However, since we are aware of these hazards, most times people use certain precautions to help protect themselves against such perils by wearing a seatbelt while in an automobile or by not bathing when it is storming outside, etc. This same methodology applies in the workplace. There are many different types of work environments from the relatively safe office setting to the treacherous underground caves utilized by miners, each work environment is different. However, one thing remains the same, the need for safety. Every day when an employee goes to work, he or she expects to return home in the same physical condition he or she left in. People don’t expect to go to work and then return home a week later with an immobilizing condition caused by something within their work environment. Employees expect a certain level of safety while at work and it is the employer’s job to provide that level of safety.
Ensuring Safety with the Help of OSHA
One well-known organization that helps to guide employers in creating a safe and less hazardous work environment is OSHA. OHSA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created in 1970 to help train, and provide information and assistance to employers in an effort to create safer work environments. Many of the safety practices outlined by OSHA are referred to as safety standards. OSHA provides safety information regarding a wide array of different safety concerns from arc flash safety to floor marking to personal protective equipment guidelines. OSHA is by far one of the top proponents regarding workplace safety in the United States.
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Another helpful safety tactic is the incorporation of a visual workplace. One major threat to employee safety is the improper identification of hazards. A great way to help combat this issue is to make sure hazards are labeled or identified appropriately. For example, if a warehouse features an abundance of exposed piping, the pipes should be labeled based upon their contents. If a pipe is carrying a pressurized hazardous liquid, the pipe should be labeled as such and should also identify the directional flow of the substance as well. Furthermore, if personal protective equipment (PPE) is required to enter a specific area then there should be adequate signage provided so employees and visitors are able to quickly identify that the specific area is hazardous and requires specific protection. Even though training is an important part of employee safety, visual awareness is also vital. Many times people forget certain components or details after training sessions; however, they can be instantly reminded of safety precautions through visual signage or labels when utilized correctly.
Employee Safety is Critical
Creating a safe and effective work environment can sometimes feel like a balancing act; however, it doesn’t have to be. Safety should not be just one more thing on the checklist of things to do. In fact, safety is an element that must be woven into the mindset of the business. Plain and simple, without the safety and health of the employees, the business would not succeed. Employee safety needs to be a priority within any work environment.