Safety in the Workplace: A Refresher for 2017
As we return to our workplaces with the holiday season largely in the rear view mirror, it’s time to take a look around with fresh eyes. When was the last time you viewed your place of business through the lens of a safety officer? Not sure who is in charge of safety at your workplace? Read on to get a quick refresher from Tori Leavitt, head of the safety committee at Market Street Talent.
EVALUATE POTENTIAL HAZARDS
Different types of workplaces have different types of risk – anyone would expect more hazards at a construction site than in an office building. If you’re an employee, the best thing you can do is look around at your surroundings and alert a superior if you see a potential problem. Supervisors should follow the same practice, of course, but it’s just as important to create an open line of communication with your team so that they feel able to bring issues to your attention. As any safety risks come to light, make sure they are dealt with promptly by the appropriate authority, whether that means reaching out to property management about an icy parking lot or calling an electrician to repair a faulty outlet.
CREATE A PLAN FOR EMERGENCIES
Perhaps the most tangible responsibility of a safety committee is developing an evacuation plan in case of an emergency like a fire, flood or other imminent threat. Individuals should remember to stay calm, exit the building quickly, and keep out of the way of first responders. This procedure should be shared with all personnel and then posted in an easily accessible location such as a breakroom or even an internal website for employees. One final step: assigning a rendezvous point a safe distance from the building. “Choosing a location for employees to meet is an important step that’s often forgotten,” says Tori. “It seems unnecessary because we all want to believe a workplace emergency won’t happen to us, but knowing what to do ahead of time is key when panic sets in.”
SAFETY IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY
Safety discussions in the workplace, especially in an office setting where risk tends to be low, are often met with grumbles. Tori suggests a brief yet efficient training to get everyone on the team up to speed without wasting time (and to keep morale from taking a hit). It sounds like a cliché, but a safe workplace increases productivity and improves worker satisfaction. Employers and employees alike can get behind that!