Have you ever thought about how safe your workplace is? If not, then it’s about time. Whether you are a business unit manager or a rank-and-file employee, it’s important to have a safe workplace to cultivate a healthy and happy work environment.
According to Safework Australia, as of June 2 this year, 72 Australians have passed away at work since the new year. You may argue that there are, of course, different conditions and reasons for these casualties, but 72 demises at work is no easy number. That’s equivalent to 12 deaths per month, and if it continues, that could amount to a whopping 120 a year!
Everyone loves a safe workplace, but it takes more than just loving the idea to make a workplace safe. It needs initiative and action. So, here are a few things we all can do to keep workplace safety points up!
A Safe Workplace Requires a Healthy Mind
Everyone should be at their best mental health for a safe work environment. This means that as an employee, you don’t rock up to work drunk, hungover, influenced by drugs, lacking sleep, or sick.
A recent case of random shooting in Manus Island, an Australian-run detention in Papua New Guinea, was attributed to drunken soldiers on the job. It resulted in damage to vehicles and properties. It was fortunate that there were no injuries or casualties, but it showed just how dangerous alcohol in the workplace can be.
Most people don’t realise that after a night of heavy drinking, alcohol can stay in the system even the next day. If you’re unsure and you want to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to test yourself with your own breathalyser before going to work to make sure that you have zero alcohol in your system.
When you are not mentally present at work, accidents can happen – a simple workplace fall or slip may cause severe injury to you or your colleague. Therefore, it’s important to be mentally healthy and focused in order to prevent mishaps.
Employers also have a duty of care to their employees. If someone is suspected of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the employer should take the proper steps to test that employee for drugs or alcohol. That’s why it may be important to have an alcohol and drug testing policy in the workplace to prepare for these sorts of situations and prevent legal implications in case of an incident.
Be Physically Active
A lack of physical activity, especially when combined with work-related stress, can threaten overall health. Those working on desk jobs spend at least 8 hours sitting on a chair!
According to studies, working on prolonged sitting position poses serious health risks such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It also affects our flexibility, muscular strength, and joint health.
Keeping physically active at work (and at home) helps to lower the chances of getting hurt or injured, and helps to improve employee health, wellness, and productivity.
Take a break from your desk regularly throughout the day. It can be as simple as standing up and doing stretches. Employers can also introduce activities at work to get all employees involved in physical activity. Even organising something as simple as a weekly yoga class or daily morning and lunchtime stretches can boost the positive energy and health of employees in the company.
The littlest of things matter! An open drawer or cabinet could sooner or later implicate you or a colleague. Irresponsibly placing a mug or office equipment in places they shouldn’t be in can cause an accident.
Encourage an organised work culture in the company to ensure that safety is a conscious effort at all times. Employees should take an active approach in keeping the workplace tidy and organised, and take responsibility for their own work spaces as well as for common spaces.
These very simple tips can help prevent accidents and keep a safe workplace. Being organised with your office supplies, stationery, cabinets, and even cables can prevent a fall, a trip, or a bump on the head.
Maintaining a safe workplace is a joint effort between the employees and the employer. The tips above may seem simple, but they’re helpful in encouraging a healthy and safe work culture. Employers have a legal duty of care to ensure safety and health in the workplace, but employees also have a role to play in maintaining a safe workplace.
Sources and References:
Fatality Statistics by Industry: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/fatalities/fatality-statistics-industry
Manus Island shooting caused by drunk soldiers, police say: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/18/manus-island-shooting-asylum-seekers-drunk-soldiers-police-say
Hazard Surveillance Research: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/research-and-studies/hazard-surveillance-research
Chair Trouble: https://www.painscience.com/articles/chair-trouble.php