Even the smallest workplace hazards have the potential to be the most dangerous. Whether there are protruding nails or slippery floors, the potential for danger is everywhere. With a few simple guidelines, these threats can be identified and reduced. The key idea to remember is that a disorderly workplace equals a dangerous workplace. Keeping order in the office or on the job site is the best way to ensure safety for employees.
Cluttered workplaces lead to a variety of illnesses and injuries. For example, if an employee sustains a laceration from a protruding rusty nail, he or she may be susceptible to tetanus. Not all employees receive regular vaccinations. In addition to this, not all employees are diligent about promptly disinfecting and treating a wound. If both issues were true, that small cut could lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills. Some injuries may be much more serious. For example, an employee who hits his or her head on an overhanging object may wind up with a head injury. Although such injuries might simply be treated with ice and rest, others might be fatal. For example, individuals who take some blood thinners are more susceptible to life-threatening damage from such occurrences. Unkempt workplaces where food or other perishable objects are present create a danger for illnesses.
When the workplace is cluttered, many employees develop a negative attitude toward safety. If employers do not show the utmost concern for safety, employees will feel that there is no reason for them to care either. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration clearly states that all passageways, places of employment, service rooms and store rooms should be kept orderly and sanitary. Employers are responsible for ensuring all hazards are removed and the workplace is clean.
To make employees happier and the workplace safer, follow these helpful housekeeping tips:
- Keep the walkways free of debris, boxes, tools and other equipment.
- Delegate various housekeeping tasks to each employee. Everyone should contribute to ensuring a safer workplace.
- Make sure all pallets are neatly stacked in a safe place.
- Check the workplace regularly for slick floors, damaged rugs, carpet rips, loose boards and other tripping hazards.
- Keep all floors maintained, and always place signs indicating wet floors after cleaning or mopping.
- Make sure there are no exits or aisles being blocked by equipment, boxes or other items.
- Remove overhanging or protruding objects, and pay special attention to doorways, walkways and common areas.
Fire protection is another important issue to consider with workplace hazards. Some hazards lead to fires, and many employees do not know how to handle them. Be sure to educate all staff on the following fire safety facts:
- Blocked aisles may help fires spread faster, and they may also prevent firefighters from reaching the flames.
- Crowded storage areas cause fires to spread quickly and may block the spray from sprinklers or fire extinguishers.
- Avoid obstructing vents, heating equipment, lighting and electrical equipment.
- Never block access to fire extinguishers or other fire safety equipment.
- Since many fires are caused by accumulated debris or oil, it is imperative to keep all areas clean.
By following these simple housekeeping suggestions, it is possible to make the workplace much safer. Educating employees about safety and fire hazards is a on ongoing process. In addition to providing this information upon initial employment, be sure to offer continuing education. Employees who know how to keep the workplace safe and prevent accidents will be more comfortable at work.