When you start a new job you will probably (hopefully) have dutifully watched their health and safety video, read the handbook or at the very least been walked and talked through the safety guidelines of the company and the place you work in. This is a requirement of every company and as well as the health and safety policy you should also be shown the fire escape routes, fire procedure for your company and any extra fire training and tests your fire marshal would normally carry out. By the time you’re in your tenth job you’ll probably know what to do in the event of a fire drill or if someone has cut their finger and the health and safety tests will be a breeze but what about your day to day safety?
We may know what to do when big things happen but sometimes we get into bad habits with our own safety procedures such as when cutting materials or going up and down ladders in the stockroom.
The first thing is to check you’re wearing the right clothing before you start your task. This ranges from not wearing high heels, covering your clothes with overalls and tying shoelaces to wearing goggles, putting special gloves on for the material you’re dealing with and wearing knee pads. If your company has asked you to perform a task that will need specialist equipment then they should provide it for you and have had it checked beforehand so that you can be sure it is working properly, this goes for big things like chainsaws to more common things like step ladders. If you have to work in places with low light levels or at night make sure you’re provided with fluorescent gloves, helmet and a coat and the same for when you’re working in cold conditions when you’ll need extra layers.
Taking regular breaks throughout your shift is also part of health and safety so make sure you take your allocated break time and sit down if you’re required to stand for most of your shift. If you’re working more than four hours you should be able to take a break even if it’s just ten minutes so make sure you have something to eat and drink that will keep you going and take your mind off work so you’re fresh for the next part of your shift. This is especially important if you have a high stress job and often have to work longer hours as it you will find yourself getting less focused without regular breaks as your attention span diminishes.
Hannah Milligan is an occupational therapist writing on behalf of powertoolsdirect.com