Two employees and a forklift in a warehouse


When it comes to workplace accidents, it’s easy to think, “It won’t happen to me.” And while that may be true, even if an accident happens to someone else, it could very well affect you and your whole team. Increased insurance premiums, equipment repair, and decreased production are some costs that can trickle down to the entire workforce. And if you work piece-rate, losing a member of the team affects your paycheck immediately. Plus, there’s the stress of adjusting to replacement staff and the effect that concern for an injured co-worker has on morale. So, what are ways you can take responsibility for making your workplace safe? Here are a few ideas:

Fall Prevention

OSHA lists fall protection as its most frequently cited workplace safety standard violation. You can make a difference at your workplace by keeping your space clutter-free. Keep your tools, jacket, and lunch box off the floor and out of walkways. If you see a spill, clean it up or apply the correct absorbent and mark the hazard. Report it to maintenance if it requires more attention. If electrical cords must cross traffic areas, tape them down. Always use proper restraint equipment when working off the ground, and verify the presence of the correct guard railing.

Respiratory Protection

Always wear the proper respiratory protection for the job, and follow your company’s guidelines for changing gas/vapor cartridges. Your mask won’t protect you if it doesn’t fit. If you feel air coming around the sides of your mask, make adjustments or try a different size.

Follow your company’s Covid policy regarding masks and other PPE. If masks are required, make sure to cover your mouth and your nose, and choose a mask that best fits your face for comfort and effectiveness.

Ladder Safety

Falls from ladders are a common cause of workplace injury. One way to avoid a fall from a ladder is not to use one! Instead, take the time to get the proper lift equipment or scaffolding. If you must use a ladder, don’t stand on the top three rungs, and don’t try to reach something farther than arm’s length away. Although it takes more time and energy, climb down and move the ladder.

Extension ladders should extend three feet above the landing. Avoid using a ladder with cracked or wobbly rungs. Finally, never paint a wooden ladder. It can hide cracks that indicate this ladder is due for the dumpster.

Forklift Safety

Forklifts are a standard piece of equipment in the industry and, unfortunately, in workplace accidents. If you drive a forklift, be sure to receive adequate training on the specific type of forklift you operate.

Follow proper pre-operation inspection to verify your machine is fit for duty. Then, create a maintenance ticket for needed repairs, and use a different power truck until repairs are completed.

Make sure you have a clear and unobstructed 360° view. Follow company policy for pathways, and slow down and sound the horn at crossways.

If you don’t drive a forklift, but work around one, always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Use designated pedestrian walkways and pay special attention to crosswalks. If earbuds are allowed at your workstation, take them out when walking through the plant.

Equipment Maintenance

Keep the machines you operate in excellent working order by following maintenance and inspection routines. Make sure all guards are in place and don’t short-circuit safety mechanisms. Keep cords appropriately routed and report frays to maintenance. Don’t hang items such as lunch bags, purses, jackets, etc., on machines.

Personal Health Measures

With all the focus on keeping your machine in excellent condition, don’t forget your company’s most important piece of equipment – you! Make sure to stay hydrated throughout your shift. Wear all recommended personal protective equipment, such as eye protection, earplugs, steel-toed boots, headgear, gloves, and appropriate clothing. Tuck in shirttails and avoid loose, floppy clothes.

Manage your health like your team depends on it – because it does! Eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise so that you can perform at your best. Communicate pertinent medical issues with your company’s medical staff.

Start Your Light Industrial Career Today

Are you ready to be part of a light industrial team? At Career Concepts, you can get your foot in the door with top companies. Just make sure you have your “foot-in-the-door” safety boots on, then let us put you to work! Contact us today.

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