Staying safe at work is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself. It’s all too easy to get injured by missing something or making an honest mistake. Thankfully, it’s also easy to avoid injury or other problems by following a few common-sense rules that will keep you safe in the workplace.
Basic safety tips
Lifting heavy objects
If your job involves lifting heavy objects, make sure you lift with your legs. Bending over to lift with your back can result in a pinched sciatic nerve. Author's note: I made that mistake years ago. The pain is crippling and there is no escape. It took nearly a month to heal. Your leg muscles are among the strongest muscles in your body. Use them to do the heavy lifting.
Make your work area work for you
Ergonomics is a branch of engineering that seeks to design things to better fit humans. You can make your workspace safer by arranging your workspace to fit you. For example, if you’re on a computer all day, consider elevating your monitor(s) so they sit at eye level. This reduces the strain on your neck.
Take breaks and stretch
Repetitive motions can result in injuries. It is a smart idea to take short breaks and look away from the monitor (if you are on a computer all day) and stretch. Give your eyes a rest by looking at something distant such as the horizon. This gives your eyes a break from staring at the monitor. Additionally, a short walk can help clear your mind and stretch your muscles.
Wear your protective equipment
If your job requires you to wear protective equipment such as a hard hat, there’s probably a good reason for it. Wherever you work, Freedom Forever wants to keep you safe. If you have ideas about equipment or procedures that could make your work safer, be sure to share them with your supervisor.
Keep yourself healthy and avoid working sick
Your overall health affects how you perform and feel at work. Plus, if you come to work sick you run the risk of making others sick. Do yourself a favor and get some rest, you’ll get better faster that way.
See something unsafe? Let somebody know
If you see anything unsafe, don’t assume that everyone else sees it too. Report it to your supervisor so that the problem can be fixed.
Parking safety tips
[Author’s note: I was a driving instructor for 10 years. These tips are tried and tested ways to keep yourself and your car safe.]
In the parking lot: Whether you are walking or driving, be cautious around cars that are backing up. A fact few people know about backing up is that it is dangerous. You are 15 times as likely to hit something (or someone!) when backing up then you are when you drive forward. It’s best to let the car finish backing up before proceeding.
On the street: When parking on the street, be sure to park within 18 inches of the curb. Try to leave enough space so that cars behind or in front of you can pull out without ramming your bumper. When you are exiting your car, try to use the “Dutch reach”. People in the Netherlands reach to open the door with their right arm. This causes your body to twist so that you check your blind spot next to you. This simple move can prevent you from harming a cyclist or having your door taken off by a passing car.
Situational awareness: Especially after dark, make a point of looking before you cross any street. Additionally, while the chances of being attacked are low, if you look around and catch someone sneaking up on you, spotting them before they can get close may prevent an attack.
[Author’s note: These situational awareness tips come from Krav Maga international Academy’s F.A.S.T. Defense course. They are time tested and proven effective defense measures]
Wildfire moves incredibly fast. [Once again, an author’s note: I was caught in a wildfire as it was jumping a freeway. The first time I saw the fire, it was about a quarter-mile away. Moments later it jumped the freeway and enveloped my car in fire and ash. Moral of the story: Fires move a lot faster than you might think!]
If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. Be sure to give the fire a wide berth, people can and do get caught in fires and die as they are attempting to evacuate. If there is a wildfire anywhere near a route you are considering taking, choose a different route. Check your fuel levels before you leave so you don’t accidentally run out of gas.
If an earthquake begins and you can quickly exit the building, do so. But if you can’t exit, the safest place is under a door jam. Once the shaking stops, if the building appears to be compromised, exit safely. If you are at work and you exit the building, try to locate your coworkers. If you can gather everyone in your department in one place, it will be easier to make sure everyone is present and safe.
If you are driving on a road and it is flooded ahead, don’t try to cross unless you can see that the water is shallow enough to drive through it safely. If you get into water that’s too deep, your tires will try to float, compromising your car’s traction and causing the car to be stuck, which can kill the engine. If this happens your engine is likely to be destroyed beyond repair.
Stay safe out there
This article shared a few common-sense safety tips. These tips work just as well when you’re not at work. Be sure to practice them at all times and make safety a habit. By following these safety tips, you may benefit not just at work, but all the time.