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Tips to Create a Safer Workplace

In a manufacturing facility, a man — wearing safety glasses, protective gloves, a grey shirt and dark pants — uses a mop and bucket to clean up a liquid spill. He has placed a warning sign near the spill.

June is National Safety Month. It’s a campaign promoted by the National Safety Council to increase awareness of the leading health and safety risks. This includes promoting awareness for building safety.

It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment. But everyone can play a role in creating a safer workplace. We spoke with Regional Safety Manager Tom Saylor who specializes in educating companies and workers about the importance of building safety. He suggests three ways to make working indoors safer.

Control what you can to prevent heat illness

Maintaining a comfortable temperature in a manufacturing facility or warehouse is difficult — especially in the warmer months. These facilities often have issues with high temperatures, humidity and air filtration which can lead to major health risks in working environments without climate control.

Working long hours in a hot building can be hazardous to an employee’s health. Saylor recommends that workers get adequate fluids, dress appropriately for their working conditions and stay aware of the factors that could lead to heat illness. He also stresses that proper rest and adjusting your diet to include smaller, healthier meals is important to avoid heat illness.

Tom recommends using the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App to monitor the heat index and stay aware of potential health dangers. It’s a free app that improves the awareness of heat conditions, types of heat illnesses and their symptoms. It even provides first aid measures to take when you have heat illness and is available in Spanish.

Learn more about how you can stay cool on the job and avoid heat illness.

Eliminate slip, trip and fall hazards

Warehouses and manufacturing buildings are busy workplaces. Workers must walk quickly around the jobsite to keep up with production. This fast-paced working environment can mean that not enough attention is being paid to housekeeping and unkempt working spaces can result in a slip, trip or fall.

“Recognize tripping hazards like broken pallets, shrink wrap, packaging bands and other materials that find their way to the floor when everyone is busy,” says Saylor.

Recognizing the hazard is the first step. Reporting or eliminating the hazard should be the next step depending on your company’s safety guidelines.

Cleaning up packaging material or cardboard is an easy task but cleaning up spills can present unique challenges. Spilled liquids are often harder to detect and slips are the second-highest reason for workplace fatalities. If the spill involves chemicals, be mindful of the company’s procedures before acting independently.

“Recognize the procedures for addressing spills and avoid the ‘it’s someone else’s job mentality’. If it’s an easy cleanup like water, take pride in yourself and your workplace and show off your initiative to help others and keep the working environment running efficiently,” says Saylor

Know the evacuation procedures

Companies have fire drills and provide maps that outline emergency evacuation routes in the facility for the worker’s benefit.

“Fire is the one of the greatest threats in the workplace. Knowing your evacuation procedures can help you escape a deadly situation,” says Saylor.

Evacuation procedures aren’t just for fires. Natural disasters or domestic threats are also why companies have identified the routes workers should use to safely leave the building if an emergency arises.

“When I think about building safety, I would say overall awareness of your surroundings at all times is important. Awareness of the weather, awareness of the rules. It comes down to being aware and engaged with your surroundings,” says Saylor.

This National Safety Month take some time to consider how you can make your workplace safer. Avoiding heat illness, knowing the evacuation procedure and timely housekeeping can help you and your coworkers stay safe at work.