Each year, 6 million people are injured in the workplace and 6,000 employees die from those injuries, according to OSHA. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics posted that there were 500 workplace homicides in 2016. 40% of the homicides of women were from domestic violence in the workplace, while robbers accounted for the most homicides of men (33%). Shootings accounted for almost 80% of the workplace homicides. So, it makes sense to know how to protect yourself while at work. Below are some tips to help keep you safe:
Know the nearest exit
In case of an emergency you may need to get out quickly. Wherever you are at work, know where the nearest exits are. Make sure there are no obstructions of any exits and if there are, report them to your employer.
Don’t allow piggybacking and tailgating
Piggybacking is when we use a key card or a key to enter a locked office, building or area and let a stranger come in with us. Tailgating is when a stranger slips through a locked door as it is closing. Both can be a risk for theft and violence.
Report unsafe conditions
Tell your employer about anything that you feel is unsafe. Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe working environment. Make others aware of the unsafe conditions as well, in case they don’t notice it.
Use machinery and tools the proper way
Avoid taking shortcuts, even if you are in a hurry. This is one of the leading causes of injuries from machinery and equipment.
Understand fire safety
Make sure you have an exit plan in the event of a fire. Your employer should conduct periodic fire drills. Avoid power strips as they can cause fires. Know where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it.
Be prepared for emergencies
Know where the first aid kit is kept and make sure it is stocked. If the office has a defibrillator, know where it is and how to use it. Keep a flashlight in your work area in case of a power outage.
Know how to react in the event of workplace violence
It is important to remember the “run, hide, fight” recommendation – if an active shooter is on the premises, try to run out, if you can’t then try to hide, and if that is not possible then fight. And as soon as you can, turn off the ringer of your phone so it doesn’t make a sound and call attention to you.
Attend workplace safety training
Most employers conduct periodic safety training that can include many of the above items. If your employer does not offer this at least once a year, ask about it. Local law enforcement and fire departments will also provide free training in the workplace.
Remember, safety doesn’t happen by accident!