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How to Better Approach Safety at Work

Cindy Eastep

BY Cindy Eastep /

The implementation of workplace safety measures is often reactionary. If someone slips or falls, a company might begin to consider different flooring options. If a shelf or desk topples over, a conversation about proper spacing and weight distribution might be initiated. But for those companies with ample years of experience handling safety precautions, these are things that are thought about long before a design goes into place.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2016. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or even the size of your business, if you want to ensure better safety in the workplace everyone has to proactively make it a top priority. Some ways to prioritize safety include:

  • Implementing mandatory safety awareness training
  • Incorporating ergonomic furniture and accessories into your office
  • Displaying safety signage and messaging that speaks to your associates
  • Creating a culture of safety
  • Choosing safety first, every time

Consider the points below as you work to make your spaces safer.

Awareness

You cannot guarantee safety. You can, however, guarantee safety awareness. It’s up to every company to determine their safety policies and procedures, as well as who is responsible for what. This goes for everything from evacuations to snow removal. Communicating these protocols to all associates is the next step. Each associate should go through the same safety training and routinely be made aware of any new changes.

Ergonomics

It might seem like ergonomic keyboards, monitor arms, and task lighting are luxuries, but in fact they’re necessities. Health problems that arise from poor workplace ergonomics, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are an enormous cost factor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, work related MSDs account for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases. In fact, MSDs are the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. Eye strain, neck or back pain, and carpel tunnel syndrome can all be avoided with the right furniture and accessories.

Branded Communications

Standard safety communications and signage can be purchased for the workplace, but they often don’t fit the look and feel of an environment. This can be easily solved with customized signage that speaks to your space and culture. Branding your safety communications is an excellent way to disseminate important information, while keeping your workspace aesthetically cohesive.

Culture

If the decision makers of a company understand the implications and impacts of safety measures, you’re headed in the right direction – but it doesn’t stop there! Across the board, associates have to want it too. Safety is the responsibility of each team member and all hands must be on deck to minimize or eliminate accidents.

Safety First

The safest option is not always the cheapest option, but it’s always the best option! Short-term savings that sacrifice safety can have long-term repercussions. It’s much more expensive to react. Reducing or eliminating safety concerns before they have the chance to manifest into problems is always the best policy.

If you can think it up, it can happen. Safety is a serious topic and should be given serious consideration.

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Cindy Eastep

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cindy Eastep

Cindy Eastep is the Warehousing Services & Safety Director at Continental Office. She has been with the team for eight years.

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Tags: All Areas, Workplace Wellness

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Great Spaces Magazine - Fall/Winter 2018

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