SafetySmart

Know your Enemies - workplace hazards

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Courtesy of SafetySmart

What’s at Stake
If you and your buddies were facing a dangerous, deceptive enemy, you’d want to find out all you could about it and share any information you come up with. The fact is you do have such a treacherous enemy - the workplace hazard.

What’s the Danger
An unnoticed hazard can take your life in an instant, or cause you a lifetime of suffering and disability.

Example: Ben received a mild shock from an electrically powered tool. “Take a lot more than that to kill me,” he joked, and didn’t report it. When a worker on another shift used the power tool, conditions were slightly different and the man was fatally electrocuted.

How to Protect Yourself
Learn all you can about workplace hazards. Share information with your co-workers, because that helps keep all of you safe.
Participate in the training and communications which are the basis of a workplace injury prevention program. Your employer provides you with the information you need to identify and avoid hazards.

Also seek this information on your own and be continually alert to new dangers.

Realize that safety information is shared in a number of ways. One person explains things to another person, individually or in a group training session. Training workbooks, videos and live demonstrations make the information easier to remember. Trainees get to try out procedures and safety equipment under the supervision of an experienced person.

Notice the signs and posters that pass along safety information. They point out hazards such as the possibility of objects falling from overhead or the presence of flammable liquid vapors. They also tell you what to do to avoid injury—wear your hardhat, or don’t smoke. Signs also point the way to equipment to be used in case of an emergency, such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits and exits.

Study labels—another common source of safety information. On a container of chemicals, the label will tell you the contents, hazards and what to do in case of a spill or exposure.

Read the material safety data sheets for safety information about chemicals. It contains the same type of information as the label, but in greater detail.

Participate in giving your co-workers valuable information about the kinds of hazards lurking in the work area. Your company’s system of reporting injuries, incidents and close calls is an important link in safety communications.

Final Word
If you have safety information, share it. Keep the lines of communication open to defeat the enemy—the workplace hazard.

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