Safety is one of the most fundamental things we expect. At home, it’s our own responsibility, but at work, that requirement is shared by our employer. They have an obligation to educate and train us about the specific hazards in our workplace, as well as to provide at least some of the protective equipment we might need. We have an obligation to be diligent about safety and to follow procedures, as well as to utilize the gear provided for us.
With so many different types of workplaces in the world, it’s impossible to cut across every single one with specific descriptions of the safety gear in use. After all, there are as many types of hazards as there are workplaces that include them. However, we can take a general view of what is likely to be in play in a variety of different workplaces.
There are many factors that we should protect ourselves from no matter where we work. There are few manufacturing facilities that will permit personnel to go without steel-toed boots, and for those that involve outdoor work, products like Ariat mens waterproof work boots are essential.
Many general hazards must be considered in every workplace. There should be smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every facility, connected directly to an automatic alarm system so that no human action is required. The system should also include traditional pull stations that can be used as soon as a fire is detected, rather than waiting for the alarm to trigger. Every workplace should have fire extinguishers and a basic first aid kit, and if qualified personnel are on site, a more advanced stockpile of medical equipment.
Although there are those commonalities across any workplace, there are other ways in which every workplace is different. For example, a furniture manufacturer would have fewer concerns about hazardous materials but would need to be very attentive to safety with power tools as well as hearing and vision protection. As a result, they would have goggles and earplugs assigned to personnel.
Of course, hazardous materials are an entire realm of their own. There are products that can vaporize and move off-site. Other materials can react violently with water and cause a fire. Still, others are long-term hazards that can create a cancer risk. These materials should not only be stored and handled with great care, but personnel may also need equipment like respirators or even self-contained breathing apparatus, as well as hazmat suits to protect them from these toxic products.
The Procedure Side
The greatest enemy of safety is complacency. People get accustomed to doing things every day without a problem, and they get lax about using proper procedures. This problem is common in hazardous occupations, but it can be even worse in workplaces without specific hazards.
Offices are a good example of this. Because offices don’t feature heavy equipment or hazardous materials, many people in an office don’t think about safety very much, and that’s dangerous. Any office should have in place a comprehensive plan for safety so that everyone knows how to handle any situation that could arise. There should be mandatory drills on a regular basis, including unannounced ones, so that personnel keep safety at the forefront of their thinking.
Every workplace has hazards. Some may be obvious, while others may not cross anyone’s mind until they happen. No matter if it’s an automotive manufacturer, a dairy farm, or an accounting firm, every employer has an obligation to do what is necessary to protect employees, customers, and visitors from every hazard they possibly can.
This process involves equipment but also training, not just on particular skills associated with safety but also on keeping a safety-minded attitude that will keep workers vigilant for hazards and capable of protecting themselves from them.