By Kathy Jackson
Many skilled trades workers face great risk of injury on the job. Working conditions may involve extreme temperatures, great heights, heavy tools and machinery or various distractions. Extra care is necessary to avoid accidents. Here are five safety guidelines, recommended by Safetyblog and the report on the Golden Rules of Occupational Safety, to help reduce incidents in the workplace:
1. Get safety training and certification that is specific to the job tasks being performed. Each job task requires a special set of skills and an acute awareness of the risks involved. Some of the risks may not be apparent or obvious. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that experienced workers know more about the risks than less experienced workers do. Experienced workers can be a great resource in better educating newer workers on understanding how to perform complicated job tasks safely.
2. Follow safety procedures, use/wear safety protection. Protection equipment includes tools such as hardhats, safety glasses, appropriate clothing, steel-toed boots, chemical masks, harnesses, and other products to protect the body from harm.
For example, TWS writes that eye protection is always important, in order to prevent debris from entering the eyes and to protect from infrared and ultraviolet radiation. Similarly, work boots should cover the legs to about 8 inches above the ankle and be made of durable leather. When working with heavy items that frequently move, safety toe boots are the best. Use hearing protection by wearing earplugs or ear covers.
Understand all hazardous materials used on the job by reading the Material Safety Data Sheet for each item. When working in confined spaces, follow procedures to check the atmosphere. For electrical work, make sure the system is inoperative before starting work.
3. Do not operate equipment unless trained to do so. One of the leading causes of job accidents is improper use of equipment. If unfamiliar with how equipment operates, get help from someone who is trained. Use proper precautions when operating equipment and do not skip safety steps. Using equipment correctly significantly reduces the chance of an accident in the workplace.
4. Do not do the job without the proper tools, surveying the area, and assuring enough room to work. Working without proper tools or in a way that puts the body in an awkward position is certain to increase the risk of injury or death. Re-evaluate the situation. Get the correct tools first and find a way to accomplish the job task that does not cramp the muscles or overextend the body. Be aware of the surroundings, especially if there are any open flames nearby or flammable materials, such as solvents, being used. Use correct posture when performing the job task and take frequent breaks when working on physically challenging jobs. Know where the fire safety equipment is located and the location of all emergency exits.
5. Pay attention to routine activities. Routine job tasks are also dangerous because you are performing them so often it is easy to go into autopilot and make a careless mistake. Practice awareness of routine climbing and lifting, and develop good safety habits that are consistent for all activities. Immediately report any hazardous material spills or potentially unsafe work conditions to the supervisor.
No one wants to be injured on the job and on-the-job accidents for both workers and employers can be costly. It is everyone’s primary responsibility on any job site to make safety a priority for themselves and others.