Every new year offers a new, fresh start. We need less stress and more balance in our lives, at work and in our families. This year check out these suggestions that can help you focus on your safety, health, and wellbeing at work and at home!

Commit to protecting yourself and your team from hazards and exposures at work through eliminating at-risk practices and conditions that will prevent injury

1.Commit to working safely, follow prescribed safety procedures, use the proper PPE for your assigned tasks, and proactively address identified hazards.

2.Take 3-5 minutes at the start of each shift to conduct a safety/hazard review of your work area.

Ensure there is clear access to:

☐ Emergency eyewash/shower stations

☐ Fire extinguishers

☐ First aid boxes, and

☐ Electrical panels along with clear pedestrian and forklift aisles for a quick response and clear evacuation paths. 

If you identify a hazard, correct it before starting work.

3.Scan your work area and equipment for hazard exposures.

  • Equipment guards must be in place before start-up. If guards are missing or removed, be sure there is no LOTO or maintenance services being performed on your machine. If clear, replace and secure the guard.
  • Check for water or other fluids that may have spilled or leaked on equipment or on the floor. Immediately address the spill/leak by cleaning it up, absorbing it, or barricading the area if you cannot correct it and contact Maintenance.
  • Complete the pre-shift inspection checklist on mobile equipment and report any safety defects once you tag it out of service. Never compromise your safety by operating equipment with a safety defect, such as bad brakes, hydraulic leaks, non-operating lights or horn or back-up alarm. Remove extraneous materials that could impede braking or fall off during operation.

4.Throughout the shift, observe for hazards that may develop while performing tasks.

  • Maintain good housekeeping practices: worktables should only have containers, chemicals, tools, and parts that are being used for your shift; cords, cables, hoses, and welding leads must be rolled and stored when not in use and should never be placed in forklift or pedestrian aisleways, at the base of stairs, or across stairs.

5.Teamwork is essential to your success.

  • Help each other from becoming distracted, focus on the task at hand and be willing to speak up if you observe a team member in a hazardous position or needing to re-place PPE after a break.
  • Form a small team that can conduct a quick walkthrough of the work area during a shift to identify developing hazards and immediately address them.
  • Just prior to the end of a shift, collectively perform housekeeping and prepare the work area for the next shift so it is safe and ready.

6.Before moving on, remember:

  • Unsafe practices – decisions and actions we take - cause more than 90% of all injuries
  • Poor housekeeping (an unsafe practice) causes 70% of all injuries in the workplace

Addressing these two points – making good, sound decisions and maintaining good housekeeping practices – eliminates or reduces hazard exposures and eliminates injuries.

Take safety home with you.

  • Set the right example for your loved ones. Keep guards on portable power tools and don’t use trigger locks, use ladders or stools designed for climbing (not chairs and countertops), and wear PPE (gloves, hearing protection, solid/closed-toe shoes), as appropriate.
  • Instill good housekeeping practices at home, including storage areas (sheds, garages, basements, attics), reducing clutter, trip hazards, fire hazards, chemical leaks/spills, etc.
  • Tell your family your reason for working safely at work and at home is for them. They count on you to be safe and remain safe. Demonstrate your love and respect for them by following through with safe practices.

Lower your stress and any distractions that can adversely affect your relationships and safety at work and at home.

  • Create and live within a home budget and monitor your spending. Little adjustments – taking your lunch instead of buying it every day, making/following a grocery list to reduce impulse spending, discuss large purchases with your significant other before making them - add up quickly and reduce “end-of-the-month” financial stress, which also reduces quarreling.
  • Limit your overtime at work to concentrate on important life events with your loved ones. If you require overtime pay to live, see the ‘budget’ suggestion above. You don’t have to give up overtime for those “extras”, but you shouldn’t be relying on overtime to make ends meet. That stressor results in bitterness, anger, and relationship problems, which create more stress, bitterness, anger… you get the idea.
  • Eat well. Adjust the types of food consumed (aim for more nutrition) and control portions. Small adjustments and better choices help control weight, improve nutrition, reduce health risks, and improve quality of life over time.
  • Exercise. Extremes are not necessary. Take a 15-minute walk when you get home to de-compress, relax, and move, especially if your job is sedentary. Lower your stress and any distractions that can adversely affect your relationships and safety at work and at home.

These safety suggestions are simple and easy. Making the commitment to improve will help you stay in control of your choices and your outcomes. You will be safer, more productive, and improve your quality of life and the quality of your relationships.