If you work in a hazardous or potentially dangerous environment, keeping yourself safe should be you and your supervisor’s top priority. While some accidents can’t be avoided, the vast majority of them can.
Following safety tips for work in hazardous environments is key to staying safe, healthy, and able to work. Don’t become one of the two million workers a year who lose their lives in workplace accidents.
Our Top Safety Tips for Work
Whether it’s wearing the right gear or following the right procedure, being smart about safety can save your life. Keep reading for a look at our top 10 safety tips for work in unsafe environments.
1. Wear Prescribed Protective Gear
First, and most importantly, never neglect your safety gear. Most likely, there are certain pieces of safety or protective gear mandatory for your job. However, many people skip donning the proper gear to save time or because they overestimate their abilities.
These lapses in judgment can often lead to minor and major injuries, such as cuts, bruises, broken bones, loss of limbs, and worse.
Make sure you always wear eye protection, especially when dealing with chemicals, heat, cutting, and grinding. Wear hard hats when required to avoid serious head injuries from falling materials or low overheads.
2. Follow Procedures
While following the exact procedures can get tedious, they’re there for a reason. Procedures are designed to protect equipment and materials, but most importantly, to keep employees safe.
Resist the urge to take shortcuts to speed things along. No matter how long you’ve been on the job or how much experience you have, following safety procedures is key to protecting everyone involved in a task.
It’s also important for setting a good example for younger or less experienced workers. If other employees see you cutting corners, it may encourage them to do the same, which could end badly at any point.
3. Stay Focused
Regardless of what type of work you do, monotonous or repetitive work can lead to working on autopilot. For some jobs, this is okay – you can zone out and think about other things while your muscle memory takes over.
However, staying focused is one of the most important safety tips for work in hazardous environments. You can’t afford to get sidetracked or lose focus. Doing so could result in serious injury or death.
To avoid losing focus, take regular breaks to give your mind a chance to relax and recuperate. Additionally, avoid talking while focusing on dangerous tasks. If someone else insists on talking to you, take a break from what you’re doing or kindly ask them to wait until you’re finished.
4. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
Like taking shortcuts, taking unnecessary risks can often lead to workplace accidents, injuries, or even fatalities on the job. Even if you’re working with heavy machinery, understand that everything has its limits.
For example, make sure you’re using the right tool for the job, not just something that will make-do. Similarly, make sure you’re trained and certified on a machine or task before attempting it. Finally, machines and tools often require regular maintenance to ensure efficiency and safety, don’t neglect it.
5. Practice Self and Environmental Awareness
A vast quantity of workplace accidents and injuries are due to a lack of awareness. While even the most aware person can fall victim to accidents, most incidents can be avoided by paying attention to yourself and your surroundings.
Environmental awareness is key to observing, noting, and remembering any environmental hazards. However, self-awareness is important for being conscious of your own actions and how they affect the environment and those around you. Pay attention to where you’re going, be conscious of those around you, and keep your eyes open.
6. Never Work Under the Influence
One of the most obvious safety tips for work in dangerous environments is staying sober on the job. While it’s never recommended to work while under the influence, it’s even less acceptable if you have a dangerous job.
If you have a problem with alcohol, seek professional help to prevent having an alcohol-related accident at work that could affect you and others. Additionally, avoid drinking any alcohol on your lunch breaks, regardless of how innocent it seems.
Finally, understand that working under the influence also applies to other drugs, prescription or otherwise. If you’re taking pain meds or anything else that could impair your cognitive abilities, you shouldn’t be working.
7. Speak Up
Many workplace injuries and accidents can be prevented by employees speaking up when they see unsafe situations. Regardless of if you like bringing attention to yourself or are timid in front of your boss, you need to speak up if you have safety concerns.
Doing so could protect someone from harm, save someone’s life, or protect the company from unnecessary lawsuits.
8. Reduce Workplace Stress
It’s difficult to work in a stressful environment. It can lead to poor performance and increase your vulnerability to injuries.
When we’re stressed out, we lose focus. This can be incredibly detrimental to our work. But in a hazardous environment, working while under stress can even be dangerous. Not only is stress an immediate distraction, but it can also lead to a lack of sleep and irritability.
Find ways to reduce stress both at work while on the job and in your free time. Get plenty of sleep each night and make your physical, mental, and emotional health a top priority.
9. Use the Correct Posture When Lifting
People who use repetitive motions at work are prone to injuries. Chefs and cooks experience in their wrists, as do computer workers and typists. However, for more hazardous jobs, you could experience lower back pain and joint pain from heavy lifting.
Anytime you’re lifting heavy materials, make sure you have help if needed. Wear back supports and proper lifting techniques to avoid acute and chronic pain and injuries.
10. Understand the Risks
Finally, one of the most important safety tips for work in a hazardous environment is to understand the risks before you take the job or start a task. When you’re hired, promoted, or tasked with an assignment, get full clarification on the risks involved.
Understand what accidents can happen and how to avoid them. This includes specific procedures, safety equipment, and more.
Looking for More Information?
If you work in a dangerous environment, understanding and embracing the above safety tips for work is vital to your health and well-being. Take your time to make sure you’re doing things by the book and paying special attention to safety precautions. However, if you’re looking for more great advice about work and business, be sure to check out the rest of our articles before you go!