The following is a guest post by Steve McLeod of Fire and Safety Australia about reducing injuries in the workplace. Fire and Safety Australia is Australia’s leading provider of National Fire and Safety Training. Their purpose is “to forever change safety in the world, one experience at a time.”
Workplace injuries are often tragic for the persons involved and their effects on a company’s business, morale and reputation can be devastating. Between 2006 and 2009, 73,400 people in Australia suffered workplace injuries that required hospitalization. Most workplace injuries are preventable and occur because of factors such as negligence or poor infrastructure. It is crucial that you survey your workplace to ensure all measures have been taken to ensure as safe a working environment as possible. Here are some steps that you should take to prevent workplace injuries, and to deal effectively with those that do occur.
Assess Your Workplace
While every workplace is different and will have different safety requirements, there are some basic rules that should be strictly observed to maintain a safe workplace. A set of health and safety rules should be put in place and all employees must familiarize themselves with them. For instance, employees should undergo training so that they are able to properly use safety equipment. There should also be some basic procedures put in place for dealing with accidents. For instance, should an accident occur, employees must know what steps to take and which emergency numbers to call.
Every workplace without exception should have a first aid kit. In addition, if possible a trained first aid officer should be on site during working hours. This is important especially if risky activities such as mining or construction are involved. A first aid officer will be able to effectively administer first aid in the event of an accident, ensure that the first aid facilities at the workplace are properly stocked and adequately maintained and keep accurate and informed records of any accidents that occur. To determine what level of first aid facilities your workplace requires, it is best to have your workplace properly assessed. An assessment can confirm how many first aid officers are required at your workplace.
It is important to be aware of the fire safety requirements at your workplace as assessed by a qualified fire safety consultant. It is essential to have a fire extinguisher on the premises in the event that a fire breaks out. Larger workplaces are likely to require more than one fire extinguisher. Wherever possible employees should attend a fire extinguisher training course and should also familiarize themselves with other fire safety regulations, including the International Fire Code. It is crucial that fire extinguishers are checked and maintained regularly to ensure it is in working order.
An office evacuation plan should be devised and printed out in the form of a map or poster and placed prominently at the premises. Ensure that every employee has easy access to a copy of the evacuation plan. Conduct regular fire drills so that the viability of your evacuation plan can be tested and all employees know what to do in the event of a fire. Having a trained fire warden on the premises at all times is ideal, and can make a huge difference when (and if) the time comes.
While all employees should familiarize themselves with the evacuation plan, you should never assume that they know where all the emergency exits are. Ensure that emergency exits are well lit at all times and kept unobstructed. Not only should the exit sign be well lit, but also the area or corridors in the vicinity of the exit. Regular checks should be made to ensure that the emergency exits are never obstructed at any time. Even momentary obstruction can be dangerous when disaster strikes.
Workplace safety is a serious issue and should never be taken lightly. While all workplaces have different safety needs, ensuring that your workplace provides employees with a safe and secure environment is very achievable if you maintain a conscientious and thorough attitude. Knowing what safety equipment and which safety personnel are needed and making sure they remain accessible is the first step towards workplace safety.