North American Occupational Safety and Health Week
With North American Occupational Safety and Health week upon us, it’s time to reflect on the measures we have in place to prevent injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in our community. By starting with strong health and safety practices at home, we can make safety a habit that will translate into a safer work environment for all employees.
In the staffing industry, it is said that people are our greatest asset. To ensure this, The Adecco Group believes in forming proper safety habits that translate both on and off the job. Whether you’re an associate, colleague, client or partner, the goal of NAOSH week is focusing on the importance of prevention and keeping you safe at home and in the workplace.
– Jason Berman, The Adecco Group National Manager, Workers Compensation, Safety & Compliance –
A safe work environment is a right, not a privilege. To support this right, we should be careful not to take safety for granted, even when it’s regulated in the workplace. Forming good habits can help prevent workplace accidents and injuries, creating a safer workplace for all. Whether it’s physical, chemical or ergonomic safety, developing good habits in our personal lives will help make safety a priority in our professional lives.
From a young age, we are taught to look both ways before crossing the road, make sure our shoelaces are tied to avoid tripping, never leave a hot element unattended, etc. These same principles apply to the work environment. By practicing general safety at home, you are ensuring these preventative measures become second nature, helping you avoid these hazards on the work site.
Physical injury can be caused by improper lifting techniques, repetitive motions and unsafe machine handling. Away from work, we avoid these injuries and hazards by stretching before exercising, wearing supportive/proper footwear and taking breaks from repetitive tasks. At work, the same safety practices apply. Wearing proper PPE can help you avoid hazards, while proper lifting techniques and small breaks from repetitive motions will help prevent injuries.
Depending on the industry, chemicals in the workplace can include cleaning supplies, and flammable and combustible substances. At home, we ensure cleaning supplies are properly labelled, stored separately from consumable items and kept out of reach of children. These same tactics apply in the work environment. In addition, employers should ensure all staff complete WHMIS and MSDS training.
Since work is acknowledged as the main source of stress for 62% of Canadian workers, learning to prevent stressors at work is a good practice for all of us.[i] One way to do this is by utilizing the same tactics we use in our personal lives — whether it’s paying bills or doing household chores, we can use organization, task prioritization and responsibility delegation to deal with our stress. If that fails, talk it through with a colleague or manager. They may have additional ideas about how to address your concerns, plus the conversation itself may be just the cure.
Ergonomic injuries are common for office workers due to the sedentary nature of their jobs. Away from work, we have greater control over ergonomic injuries, with the ability to limit our time standing, looking at television or computer screens, and performing other repetitive motions. With nearly 2 million Canadians suffering from RSI (repetitive strain injuries)[ii], ergonomic controls should be a priority. Workers are entitled to ergonomic mats for standing, as well as ergonomic chairs, keyboards and even standing desks.
Although safety at home can translate into good safety practices at work, there are additional considerations both employees and employers should keep in mind to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
How employees can maintain safety habits at work:
- Be mindful of your surroundings.
- Follow set safety rules and procedures.
- Always wear recommended or required PPE.
- Take breaks to avoid strain.
- Report any unsafe work conditions.
How employers can maintain safety habits at work:
- Promote NAOSH Week within your company.
- Revise and/or launch new safety programs.
- Provide incentives for reporting potential safety hazards.
- Build a Joint Health and Safety Committee and hold regular meetings.
- Maintain proper injury reporting.
Regardless of the size of your company or the nature of your business, workplace safety must always be a priority. By implementing safety practices at home, we are creating positive habits that will translate into better workplace safety, instilling practices that will benefit the health and safety of colleagues, management and customers alike.
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