It is natural to want to increase productivity and save time at work by finding shortcuts. Many shortcuts may indeed be smart ways to eliminate wasted time, meet deadlines and get more accomplished. There is no shortcut, however, in safety. Finding workarounds to procedures and protocols that are in place for the safety of all workers could cause dangerous and even deadly workplace accidents. Avoid using shortcuts on these six common safety rules to help prevent injuries in your workplace.
Falls are the leading cause of death and Montana construction accident injuries in the industry and are responsible for thousands of injuries and fatalities in other industries. While ladders and scaffolds can cause fall accidents and wrongful deaths, the absence of them can as well. Workers trying to climb onto chairs, desks, boxes, rebar, shelves, cabinets or other items instead of getting ladders can cause serious fall accidents. Always take the extra time to find a ladder or step stool before injuring yourself climbing onto equipment or reaching too far for an item.
Muscle sprains and strains from lifting heavy objects are two of the most common reasons for workers' compensation claims. Heavy lifting is especially dangerous for your back, as it can cause pinched nerves and slipped or herniated disks. Avoid a back injury by always following safety protocols when lifting items. Use the proper equipment or personal protective devices, such as a back brace, and wait for someone to come help if it is too heavy to lift on your own. Never try to lift objects in a hurry, without using the proper form or without the appropriate gear.
It might be faster and easier to continue using the tool you already have with you, but this could be dangerous if it is not the right tool for the job. Using the wrong tool instead of walking to get the correct one could lead to preventable disasters such as structural collapses, damaged equipment and electrocutions. Your employer has designated certain tools for specific jobs for a reason. Respect protocols and take the time to grab the right tool before beginning a task or project.
Although neither federal nor Montana state laws require meal or rest breaks at work, if your employer offers them, take them. Meal and rest breaks are important for overall workplace safety. They can help ensure workers stay energized, focused and well-rested. Otherwise, accidents related to fatigue or distraction can occur. If you are a commercial trucker, federal law does require you to take meal and rest breaks, according to strict hours of service regulations. Never skip your breaks as a shortcut to make it to your destination faster.
Compared to the rest of the work you do, cleaning up at the end of the shift can seem trivial or unimportant. This is not, however, something you should skip. Cleaning and tidying up are important safety requirements in every workplace. Failure to clean up can lead to common injury risks such as obstacles in walkways, liquids or debris on the floor, clutter in hallways, items blocking emergency exits, dust or combustibles accumulating, and malfunctioning equipment. Cleaning up after yourself is important for overall work environment safety.
If a piece of equipment at work is damaged, broken or not working properly, halt its use and call in professionals to make repairs. Never try to save time by fixing it yourself if you are not the professional trained to do so. The job can wait while your employer schedules proper repairs. Unprofessional hacks or low-quality repairs could lead to serious injury risks. Replacing a missing machine guard with a piece of plywood, for example, could lead to fatal injuries if a worker gets caught in the machine. When it comes to safety, do the right thing. Always obey protocol instead of using dangerous shortcuts.
At Odegaard Kovacich Snipes, we have decades of experience helping clients who have been involved in workplace accidents that were caused by their employers negligence. Contact us or fill out a No-Risk Case Evaluation Form.
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