POLICE ADVICE: Wherever you work, think safety first

By Sgt Nathalie Ranger

Accidents can be prevented by keeping workplace safety tips in mind on the job. No matter what industry you work in, applying safety tips can prevent accidents.

Tips for Avoiding Slips and Falls

Falls are the leading cause of injury in the workplace. Keep these tips in mind to avoid an injury:

  1. As you walk, keep an eye on the floor in front of you for spills.

  2. If you see a spill, never just walk by it. Always clean it up or call someone to clean it up.

  3. Wear non-skid shoes when you work in kitchens, outdoors, or any other place where you will commonly be walking on slippery surfaces.

  4. Never climb on shelving units or storage units to get things. Use only approved ladders.

  5. Never lean on railings, even if they look solid. They could be improperly secured, and you could fall.

  6. Always use safety harnesses when working at heights.

Tips for Lifting Properly

You may work with patients who need help getting around or at a factory where you’re lifting boxes on a continual basis. No matter who or what you may be lifting, there are some key points to consider:

  1. If you are approaching a box and don’t know what’s in it, try moving it a little with your foot first to see how easily it moves. This will help you gauge how heavy is the box.

  2. Always wear non-skid shoes when you are lifting potentially heavy objects.

  3. Never bend at the waist and lift the box up with your back. Keep your upper body straight and parallel with your lower legs. Grab the item and push up with your legs, not with your back.

  4. Never jerk your body around when lifting. You may feel fine after doing this once, but repeated occurrences can easily lead to injury in even the healthiest workers.

Fire Safety Tips

Some jobs carry an increased risk of fire, but understanding fire safety is important for any occupation. Keep these tips in mind:

Have a fire plan in place for your worksite, and make sure your employees understand it fully. Having a fire drill every now and again is a good way for employees to keep escape routes, meeting spots, and procedures in mind.

  1. Avoid the use of so-called “power strips” whenever possible. They are often prone to overuse and can start a fire if too many appliances are plugged into them.

  2. Keep cleaning chemicals and other work chemicals in a well-ventilated room. Many chemicals emit vapour that are highly flammable and which can be set off with something as small as a spark from a faulty wire.

  3. Know where all the fire extinguishers are throughout your workplace and know how to use them.

  4. Remember that grease fires cannot be fought by dousing them with water. Oil is hydrophobic and also is the fuel source in grease fires. Water will simply splash the oil around and spread the fire even further.

  5. Smoke alarms: a necessity, not an option

  6. Invest in smoke detectors for every room or office.

  7. Test your smoke detectors (and sprinkling system) once a month.

  8. Replace the batteries at least once a year.

  9. Never disable a smoke alarm.

Consider smoke alarms for the disabled.

Audible alarms (pauses between the siren wail allow for auditory communication) are available for the visually impaired; visual alarms (with a flashing light or vibrating pad) are available for the hearing impaired.

Planning for a Safe Workplace

Falls, lifting injuries and fires are dangerous and common in the workplace, but that’s just the beginning. There are many possible safety issues that can occur at your office or factory. Sometimes the best workplace safety arises out of simple good planning and smart thinking.

Every workplace should have a safety committee and safety plan in place. If you don’t have safety committees at your workplace, then propose one. If you work at home, you are the safety committee. Working at home or for a very small business is not a reason to get out of safety planning.

If you don’t have a safety plan in place yet, follow these steps when you recognize a workplace safety issue:

  1. Make sure everyone else in your workplace is aware of the problem.

  2. Notify your supervisor.

  3. File any reports or documents about the problem.

  4. Follow up. Telling someone there’s a problem is not a guarantee that the problem will be resolved satisfactorily. Report it and later follow up to make sure the problem was addressed.

Crime Prevention during Business Hours

  1. Dial 911 immediately if you notice suspicious strangers loitering in or near your place of business. Take particular notice of people who loiter during the opening and closing times of your business.

  2. Employees in charge of making bank deposits should always be alert for strangers lingering at the bank. If in doubt, do not make the deposit while a suspicious person is in the area.

  3. Never block the view into your store by filling windows with multiple displays. Robbers do not want to be seen, and they are less likely to attack your business if a passer-by can see what is going on inside.

  4. Minimize the amount of cash you keep on the premises.

  5. Make frequent pick-ups of money from registers and make regular bank deposits.

  6. Try not to work alone. Studies have indicated the presence of more employees may reduce the incidence of an armed robbery.

  7. Install quality locks on doors and windows. Also invest in a monitored alarm system. Alarms are the best defense against property crime and knowing you have a system could be enough to deter criminals.

  8. Always use interior and exterior lighting. Lighting may prevent an intruder from concealing his illegal activities. Installing and using motion sensor lighting is an inexpensive way to deter crime at your business.

In the end, workplace safety is the responsibility of everyone at your job. Everyone has a part to play in keeping the workplace safe and free from unnecessary dangers and risks. By keeping these tips in mind and sharing them with others, you will be doing your part in keeping injuries, possibly deaths and robbery from happening on the job.