Few of us spare much thought to workplace safety, and this can cost us heavily in case of an emergency. No matter what your job, it is important to take steps that reduce your risks of injury and illness at work. All employers have the responsibility to make sure that any risks are properly identified and controlled. Workers too must be aware of the steps they need to take for ensuring their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions. Here's a basic checklist of essential workplace safety measures.
1. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in plain sight. If you have a large office, place several kits throughout. Ensure that at least one person on your staff is trained in first aid.
2. Create an emergency action plan. This should outline emergency exits and safe meeting places.
3. If your company does not supply an emergency kit, keep your own supplies (flashlight, walking shoes, water bottle, non-perishable food, etc.) in a desk drawer.
4. Identify staff who may need extra help in an emergency and involve them in planning ahead for their safety.
Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation after hours, or ask a security guard to escort you.
5. Prevent tripping accidents by checking that aisles and walkways are clear, the lighting is bright enough, and wires are tucked away.
6. Promote fire safety by identifying potential fire hazards in your office and by training staff on how to use extinguishers.
7. Avoid injuries by storing items safely. Place heavier items lower to the ground, and distribute weight evenly in cabinets and on shelves. Keep a sturdy stepladder handy for reaching higher shelves.
8. Help reduce back pain and repetitive strain injuries by making sure desk chairs are adjusted properly and computer monitors are at the right height for each user.
9. Lock all valuables in a safe place and secure laptops to desks.
10. Ensure the workplace is lit brightly and covered by a surveillance system.
11. Keep filing cabinet drawers closed when not in use. Only open one drawer at a time to prevent cabinets from tipping over.
12. Don't stay late if you'll be alone in the office. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation after hours, or ask a security guard to escort you.
13. Don't leave any private information on a public computer screen at the workplace.
14. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 requires that each workplace employing women to have an Internal Complaints Committee. Is yours in place?
15. Mark your equipment with identification numbers, and keep an updated inventory list. It's a good idea to keep backups of your work in a secure, separate location as well.
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