Safety Is Everyone’s Job

By: Allencia Ballard

A serious workplace injury or death changes lives forever – for families, friends, communities, and coworkers, it is a devastating tragedy.  Every worker is exposed to hazards in the workplace, regardless of the location or industry.  Workplaces in the home, factory, office and construction site all come with a unique set of hazards.  Regardless of the task, job, or assignment, worker safety is important.

 

Each year, approximately 6,000 US workers die from workplace injuries while another 50,000 die from illnesses caused by exposure to workplace hazards. In addition, 6 million workers suffer non-fatal workplace injuries at an annual cost to U.S. businesses of more than $125 billion.

 

Effective workplace safety and health programs add value to the workplace and help reduce worker injuries and illnesses.  Workers who embrace and consistently adhere to health and safety policies, procedures, laws, and regulations help to ensure their workplaces are free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

 

All workers, regardless of position in the organization, can contribute to an effective safety culture.  With the right attitude, proper action, and careful due diligence, all workers can do a good job in the safety department.

 

Right Attitude

The right attitude goes a long way to finishing each workday safely.  Healthy safety attitudes are created during training.  Workers who attend regular safety training and apply the learned principles in their daily work, demonstrate the right attitude toward safety, contributing to the overall safety culture of the workplace.

 

These workers lead by example by:

  • Attending, sometimes even presenting, in safety training
  • Participating in safety committees
  • Taking safety seriously, avoiding shortcuts and other unsafe work practices.
  • Being accountable and holding others accountable for their actions

 

Proper Action

Workers and employers both benefit when workers take the proper actions regarding safety.  There are many actions workers can take to do a good job in the safety department, including, but not limited to:

  • Maintaining tools and equipment in good condition, guarded and grounded
  • Wearing the required, appropriate PPE
  • Reporting injuries immediately
  • Participating in root cause analysis investigations
  • Conducting regular safety inspections of the work area

 

Careful Due Diligence

To recognize and understand that there are no shortcuts to safety means workers must ensure careful planning and preparation goes into the performance of both routine and non-routine tasks.   The due diligence required for safe work practices is often a critical part of the safe work practices required to mitigate the hazards of the job.

 

Workers must be provided the necessary resources, training, equipment, and tools to plan and perform their work safely.  This includes:

  • The means to practice good hygiene, limiting exposure to hazardous dust, chemicals, particles, liquids, etc.
  • The ability to perform the job at a high standard, without introducing new hazards into the job or task
  • The authority to ask questions or seek clarity when a job or instructions are unclear or a safety procedure, policy, the requirement is challenged.

 

There is no room for excuses or exceptions in healthy safety culture, and that goes for company leadership too.  Safety must be incorporated in all phases of projects, jobs, tasks, etc. to reduce the hazards to workers.

By driving safety at each level of operation in the organization, company leadership can inspire, encourage, and create a safety culture that fosters the safety attitudes, actions, and due diligence that keeps workers’ injury and illness free.

But workplace safety is about more than rules and guidelines, it’s about creating the kind of productive, efficient, happy, and inspiring workplace we all want to be a part of.  When safety is everyone’s job and everyone takes that job seriously, everyone can expect a safer, happier work environment.

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