Employee or Independent Contractor?

Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know

It is very common to be confronted with unexpected cases of accidents and fatalities that could happen anywhere and anytime, influencing the lives of many individuals and groups. Often if employees don’t take their safety seriously it will result in severe injuries and trauma in situations where those incidents could’ve been prevented in the first place. 

Every employee should be mindful of and committed to adopting and following safety procedures and policies that their company has put in motion, to keep each other safe and provide the best working conditions. In every career, safety is important, and a trouble-free, stable work environment will increase employee satisfaction, especially for those who work in high-risk environments.

David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Engage EHS, knows the importance of safety in business. He claims that “the role of safety in business is vitally important. It is imperative that we are proactive in developing a positive safety culture in our businesses. What we need is a genuine cultural shift, and this can have a profound impact on not just our workers, but also other KPIs such as consumer confidence and reputation.”

Despite the fact that injuries at the workplace are frequent, it is also possible to prevent them and avoid any accidents. Here are 10 tips that any employee and employer should know. 

  1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings 

Being aware of your environment and surroundings means that employees are conscious of the dangers and threats associated with their careers and workplace. By doing so, you will be able to practice caution and escape potentially dangerous scenarios. In addition, being aware of your surroundings is the best and safest way to keep yourself protected. 

  1. Report Any Unsafe Conditions

This should be treated as a high priority and all employees must be made aware of how to report dangerous situations so that managers can respond effectively and take disciplinary action to uphold the safety culture. Some of  the harmful things you encounter at work that must be reported include:

  • Unstable floors.
  • Broken tables or chairs.
  • Leakages or spills.
  • Wobbly stairs. 
  • Torn carpets.
  • Loose cables.
  1. Keep Good Posture 

It is crucial to maintain proper posture, especially if you work in an office or production facility, in order to prevent constant neck, shoulder, and back pain as well as injuries. A good posture will allow you to do activities in a way that puts the least amount of strain on your muscles when carrying items, or leaning to pick something up. To avoid moving in a manner that might cause you pain or distress, make sure you have everything you need for a project within reach. 

Factors such as stress, sitting or standing in the same position for too long, obesity, unsatisfactory working conditions, and others may all contribute to bad posture. In the long term, an effective attempt on your part to be mindful and practice the proper stance needed to carry out your obligations will only result in your well-being. It is easy to maintain proper posture which you can achieve by shrugging your shoulders, moving them around, and then dropping them.

  1. Follow Your New Safety Procedures 

You must always be aware of the latest safety procedures and policies that your company has updated. If your company purchases new pieces of equipment or upgrades its preparation, it is important to understand the new safety procedures and policies that come with it. Although management is responsible for delivering adequate instructions, it is your duty to ensure that you follow the latest safety protocols before using new equipment. Be certain you understand the new procedures and don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything’s unclear. 

  1. Don’t Take Shortcuts 

One of the most common causes of job accidents is taking shortcuts. It is really important in following instructions when using a machine because taking shortcuts will only result in injuries and it isn’t worth the few minutes you might save. 

Using one instrument instead of another for a particular job poses a significant risk of injury. When instruments are used correctly, the risk of occupational injuries is significantly reduced. As a result, the likelihood of an occupational accident is diminished. It is the employer’s legal responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe and that each employee is informed and prepared before beginning work. Employers investing time and resources in a comprehensive occupational safety training program will save them a lot of money, sick or maternity leave, as well as medical insurance payments. 

  1. Take Breaks 

It is common sense to take daily breaks. Workplace injuries often occur as a result of a stressed or burned-out employee. Employees are more vulnerable to injuries when they are exhausted because their knowledge of their surroundings is affected by fatigue. Additionally, taking breaks when needed will allow you to stay fresh and remain alert which will help you prevent stress and injury. Try to plan the most difficult assignments for when you have the most focus, such as first thing in the morning. 

  1. Stay Sober

When you’re at work, you must maintain a high level of commitment and concentration while still showing good judgment at all times. Alcohol, as well as other medications, including opioid drugs, has been shown to impair vision, balance, and the capacity to be attentive as well as reduce inhibitions. 

However, lapses can occur raising the risk of accidents and emphasizing the absolute necessity of abstaining from the use of drugs and alcohol at work.

  1. Create and Follow Emergency Procedures

You must always prepare for sudden emergencies in your area, like fire, floods, or hurricanes, that might jeopardize the safety of employees or the business. As a result, have these procedures in action in the event of an emergency:

  • Check social media warnings to be prepared for natural disasters or other emergencies. 
  • Determine the threats that your business faces.
  • Be sure your insurance is up to date.
  • Have a risk management plan.
  • Define the company’s critical points and how to best defend them.

Particularly, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide specific procedures for what to do in the event of an emergency.

  1. Take Charge of Your Own Protection

Your own safety is your number one most important priority. Instead of feeling regretful and apologetic following an accident, it’s necessary to maintain a cautious approach and continue enforcing all prevention strategies that can benefit you while still encouraging workplace safety. 

  1. Reduce Stress

Workplace stress is everywhere and can cause difficulty focusing. Long hours, heavy workload, career instability, negative work atmosphere, or disagreements with colleagues or employers are all common sources of occupational stress. 

According to American Psychological Association, work stress has been attributed to health issues, burnout, occupational deaths, and more. Physical signs of stress include digestive problems, stomach pains, and nausea while psychological symptoms can entail exhaustion, loss of confidence, anger, and irritability.  Employers must take crucial and effective steps in making sure that stress does not negatively impact their team’s well-being. 

Although all employees should learn and practice occupational safety procedures, it is the responsibility of the management and business owners to make sure that their team receives the proper training in order to mitigate risk.

But Who Is Responsible For The Safety of Independent Contractors?

If a project owner has signed a contract with an independent contractor assigning site protection responsibilities to that company, the owner normally has no legal grounds for injury to the independent contractors’ employees. 

Russell Swanson, then director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, stated in a 2001 letter that self-employed workers are not subject to Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s construction safety requirements.

Swanson said that OSHA has no power to order the person to abide by OSHA construction requirements if that worker is genuinely self-employed and not an employee.

According to the Australian Government, which has put in place several guidelines to determine if a contractor still counts as an “independent contractor” in the region, “If you hire independent contractors, you are legally responsible for ensuring their health and safety at all times while in your workplace (to the extent that this is reasonably practicable). For example, you should ensure that your workplace, any machinery, substances, and facilities used are safe and that all workers have adequate training, supervision and are properly licensed if required.”

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