Everyone deserves to work in a safe and protected atmosphere. No matter where you work or what you do, safety in the workplace is a critical issue that undeniably needs to be addressed.
When an emergency arises in the workplace, an instant response is warranted. Defining what a workplace emergency includes can span everything from an injured worker, to a medical crisis, to a weather-related disaster. Regardless of the predicament, every workplace needs a system in place to identify and quickly alert others that a crisis is occurring.
There is an endless list of workplaces that involve situations where employees need to be alerted, including construction sites, mines, logging forests, warehouse operations, loading docks, airports, medical centers, manufacturing plants, chemical plants, universities, and many more. On these types of work sites, employees can be spread out and sometimes even isolated from others, which can make it difficult to call attention to yourself and alert others that you need help in the event of an unforeseen incident or accident. In addition, workers can be extremely focused on their duties which may cause them to not pay attention to the occurrences around them. These working conditions evoke circumstances in which workers can easily become injured, require immediate assistance, be exposed to harmful chemicals, or become faced with a dangerous or life-threatening situation.
Creating a safe work environment
Despite having the appropriate safety guidelines and policies in place, these systems are worth nothing without employees who are educated and invested in adhering to the safety standards and precautions. To create a safe working environment, employees from all levels of the organization need to communicate and follow the safety systems in place.
To successfully create a safe working environment, companies need to foster a positive culture of safety in which employees not only receive proper training and equipment for their assigned tasks but are encouraged to identify unsafe behaviors and opportunities for improvement, prevent potential hazards, and are able to make informed safety decisions while performing daily tasks. When it comes to workplace safety, preventative measures are just as important as emergency response plans.
The use of safety signaling devices
Especially for occupations that are industrial, laborious, or involve working alone, workplace safety is a serious and ever-present concern. A safety practice that is highly effective and recommended within these work sites is the employment of safety signaling devices. Safety signaling devices help to reduce accidents and increase safety by allowing for instantaneous alerting to impending problems or danger. Devices such as safety whistles can be very effective for this application since they create a loud, piercing sound that can be heard above ambient noises, quickly communicate that someone needs help, and allow others to identify the exact location of need. They are also small and easy to carry which allows for the device to be carried on the person always, making the device easily accessible during an emergency. This is beneficial because each worker on the job site could be equipped with a life-saving emergency device.
There are a multitude of sounds present within any workplace, so it’s important to assign a noticeable sound as the emergency signal. Make sure that the sound is not similar or the same as other common sounds that are heard in that workplace. That could cause employees to overlook or ignore the sound when it goes off during an emergency, which could lead to the person in need not receiving any assistance or the employees potentially walking into a dangerous situation.
It is also crucial that all employees are trained repeatedly and are aware of the which sounds indicate warnings or emergencies. This allows for employees to know how to properly react when hearing specific sounds.
Occupations with the largest risk of workplace injuries
Workplace injuries can occur in almost any work environment, but there are some occupations that have higher risk of injuries occurring. Below are the occupations with the largest number of workplace injuries:
- Service Industry (firefighters, police, etc.)
- Transportation & Shipping
- Manufacturing & Production
- Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
Most of these occupations have departments within their organization that purely focus on the safety and wellness of their employees. The safety training provided within these organizations is usually extensive and can take multiple days if not weeks. It is important for employees to pay attention absorb the information they are given during their safety training to ensure they are well prepared for any situation that may occur.
Within these high-risk occupations, they are numerous emergency alert systems depending on the situation. As mentioned earlier, these safety systems are worth nothing unless the employees are fully invested and understand the importance of knowing the procedures and ensuring they are always equipped with the necessary safety gear while on the job. Most of the safety equipment provided in these high-risk occupations are for emergencies, but as our founder, Bob Cameron says, “you’d better hope you have the right equipment when you need it.”
For more information on workplace safety and how to successfully implement emergency alert systems within your organization, please visit The National Safety Council website.