What is Workplace Safety

What is Workplace Safety

We strive to provide you with a work environment that is as safe as possible, but we’re also relying on you to play your part in ensuring we all have a safe environment in which to work.
Slips, trips, and falls cause a significant amount of workplace accidents. Causes of slips, trips, and falls include:

  • Wet products, like water or food
  • Dry products, like food or plastic wrapping
  • Freshly waxed or recently polished floors
  • Loose carpet tiles, unanchored rugs or mats, loose floorboards
  • Weather hazards, like icy walkways or loose leaves or pine needles
  • Exposed cables, wires, or extension cords
  • Packaging, boxes, or other items left in aisles or walkways
  • An open desk or cabinet door

There are several situations that can present a risk to your safety in the office.
These include:

  • Standing on a chair or desk to reach a high shelf
  • Blocked fire exits
  • Using unauthorized personal electrical appliances, like portable fans, cup warmers, etc.
  • Overloading electrical sockets
  • Connecting multiple extension cords together
  • Using damaged electrical cords, such as cords that are cut, frayed, etc.

We all have a role to play in keeping our workplace safe and free from hazards. If you notice a hazard, you have a responsibility to report it immediately to the appropriate department.

Floor Spill

Jermaine is on the way to a meeting when he slips. He manages to catch himself without falling, and, when he looks down, he notices a spill of some kind on the floor.
What should Jermaine do?

  • Report the spill immediately to building services or the appropriate department so that they can clean it up.
  • Cover the spill in paper towels and let them soak it up naturally.
  • Nothing. It’s not his responsibility to deal with spills. Someone else will take care of it.

Slips, trips, and falls are workplace threats and should be taken seriously. More importantly, they are preventable. To avoid an incident involving a spill, you must be aware of the dangers they pose.

Remember:

  • Partially cleaning a spill has the potential to cause greater risk. The correct procedures, carried out by the appropriate department, must always be followed.
  • Limiting the potential for slips and falls is a high priority.
  • Never ignore a spill, cables, loose floor tiles, or other trip hazards. If you identify a safety hazard, report the issue to building services or the relevant department immediately.

Overloaded Socket

Charlotte is working to meet a deadline. She has to use a laptop and charge her tablet while she works, but there is only one free wall socket. It is already full of plugs running through an adaptor. She adds another adaptor so that she can power the devices, and a fan, while she works. After an hour, she detects a smell of hot plastic and notices there is blackness around the wall socket.

Which two things should Charlotte do?

  • Recognize the danger signs – the socket is overloaded – and unplug the devices.
  • Report the issue to the relevant department and cease using the socket in question.
  • Plug another extension cord into the socket and continue working.

Overloading a socket can be hazardous, but this danger can be easily avoided. By recognizing when a socket is overloaded, you can prevent a potentially dangerous event from taking place in the workplace.

Remember:

  • Never plug too many electrical devices into a single socket.
  • Be aware of the danger signs. Examples include hot plugs and sockets, smoke or blackness around the socket, and loose wiring.
  • Different devices or appliances have differing voltage, so you must always respect the amps limit.
  • Never use damaged extension cords or sockets with exposed wiring.
  • Never overload extension cords by plugging in appliances that, together, will exceed the current rating. The current rating is normally marked on the underside of the extension cord.
  • Never plug multiple extension cords together.
  • Always unplug extension cords when not in use.

Medical Emergency

Eleanor is in a meeting room discussing a project with Luka. They are the only people in the room. Luka complains that he’s not feeling well; then, his speech starts to slur, and he slumps forward in his chair. Eleanor thinks he might be having a stroke.
What should Eleanor do?

  • Dial 911 immediately and then notify the appropriate department in her building that there is a medical emergency. She should stay with Luka until the emergency services arrive or someone from the appropriate department arrives on the scene.
  • Run down to reception and ask them to call emergency services. Then go back to the meeting room and stay with Luka until emergency services arrive.
  • Leave Luka in the meeting room and try to find someone in the building that has medical experience so that they can help. If she can’t find anyone, return to the meeting room and call 911.

In a medical emergency, acting quickly and correctly can mean the difference between someone making a full recovery or not.
The first thing you should do in a medical emergency is dial 911 and stay with the victim until help arrives. If possible, notify the appropriate department in your building, and they can also provide assistance.

Download our Environmental Health and Safety booklet.
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