Over the years, Health and Safety have grown considerably with benefits such as increase in safety awareness amongst employers and employees, improved safety culture, enhance workplace safety, etc.
With all these strides, some ill act do creep in here and there; this is what we refer to as mistakes, in this case, Safety Mistakes. In this article, well will be looking at “Most Common Workplace Safety Mistakes” and How to Avoid Them.
What are Safety Mistakes
Safety mistakes could be said to be act or judgement that is misguided or wrong which could result to accident, injury or death.
There are several safety mistakes, but within the scope of this article, we will be considering eleven (11) safety mistakes.
- Not Investigating Near Miss
- Not investing in health and safety
- Inadequate labelling of hazardous materials and waste
- Inappropriate use of Ladders
- Sending out Complicated Safety Instructions
- Not Using Proper Personal Protective Equipment
- Using the Wrong Tool for the Job
- Playing Down on Equipment Inspections and Maintenance
- Improper Handling of Hazardous Materials
- Lack of Effective Training
- Not recognizing competence
Most Common Workplace Safety Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
1. Not Investigating Near Miss
A near miss is an incident which results to no injury, no damage to property/equipment/machinery, and no environmental effect but has the potential for all those. It is mostly overlooked on site because it presents no negative impact. Though it poses no immediate negative impact, it can present us with trend of events which may result to serious damage and losses if properly investigated.
It is unfortunate that most times near misses are not investigated; this is a very costly mistake. Since it can be used to identify trends of event which may result to damage and injury, it is necessary that all near miss be reported and investigated.
2. Not Investing in Health and Safety
There are lots of organizations where the management feel that Health and Safety is just a waste of time, the little they do is just to fulfil all righteousness.
However I am stating categorically that this is a very big mistake. There is a popular safety slogan that says “If you feel safety is expensive, try accident“.
Though Health and Safety is not producing money for you, it can help you save money. So do not find yourself in this category, always ensure you invest in health and Safety in terms of trainings, procurement of personal protective equipment, investing in emergency preparedness planning, etc.
3. Inadequate labelling of hazardous materials and waste
Another very common Health and Safety mistake is failure to label hazardous materials and waste.
The hazard label is the main communication tool for the classification of hazardous substances and mixtures. Together with the safety data sheet, the hazard label should be consistent in communicating any hazard information for a given substance or mixture to the user. This enables the user to best protect himself during use.
So not labelling these hazardous material appropriately can expose employees and other people working around where the hazardous material is stored to risk.
4. Inappropriate use of Ladders
Ladders are used to work at elevated positions. It can ease the work and can also create danger if used wrongly.
Inappropriate use of ladders can lead to organ damage, spine/neck injuries resulting from falls. Falling objects can also result in serious head injuries, which could cause brain damage. It can also result in bone fractures, which can be multiple, and cause ligament/tendon damage.
So do not make this mistake of inappropriate use of ladder. Always make sure you choose the right type of ladder for jobs that requires ladder, also make sure the ladder is certified safe by a competent person for you and placed on a stable ground.
Generally, you should follow ladder safety guide anytime you want to make use of ladder.
5. Sending Out Complicated Safety Instructions
Safety instructions are to serve as a guide to achieving a particular purpose, but when the instruction is passed in a way that is difficult to understand it will not serve the purpose it was sent.
Never make the mistake of passing a complicated safety instruction; always make sure you use simple terms to define what you want to say, always ask for feedback to ascertain understanding, if its a written instruction; make sure it is clear and understandable.
6. Not Using Proper Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment is said to be the last line of defense when every other control fails, but when not used properly it will not deliver on the purpose it was used for.
So never make a mistake of using personal protective equipment (PPE) inappropriately.
NOTE: Using PPE inappropriately is equivalent to not using at all.
7. Using the Wrong Tools for the Job
Choosing the Right Tool for the Job is something that should always be ringing in your ears. Tools where made to make our job easier, faster and boost productivity; but tools can also be dangerous and deadly when misused. So its like a two (2) edged sword; use it well and get the required benefits but misuse it and watch it punish you.
For example, a hammer cannot do a job a drill is suppose to do, the same way a drill cannot do the job of a hammer, but most times we try to force these tools to work outside their scope.
Never make this mistake, choose the right tool for a job always.
8. Playing Down on Equipment Inspection and Maintenance
Maintenance inspection is the process of evaluation the condition of equipment or machines. The purpose of a maintenance inspection is to determine what tools, materials, and labor are needed to keep them in good working condition.
Maintenance inspections can identify minor issues before they turn into costly repairs. Inspections ensure machines are working correctly and helps prevent equipment downtime.
If you make the mistake of playing down on equipment inspection and maintenance, you will be shooting yourself in the leg.
9. Improper Handling of Hazardous Chemicals
Hazards with improper Chemical Handling and Storage is one of the biggest concerns for the employee’s safety at workplaces. Everything around us including our body is entirely made up of various chemicals. All the chemicals have ingrained hazardous properties of toxication or explosion.
Improper handling of hazardous chemicals could result to explosion, flammability, corrosion, leakage, spillage, intoxication, etc.
In your workplace, always ensure proper handing of hazardous chemicals.
10. Lack of Effective Training
The consequences of a lack of training include high employee turnover, compliance issues, safety risks, and increased business costs. You can address a lack of workplace training by making training more engaging, accessible, and impactful.
By training you are empowering your manpower to work safer, thereby reducing the potential of causing accident at work.
Do not do this mistake to think training is not necessary, it will save you lot of stress.
11. Not recognizing competence
Anybody cannot do any job; don’t make this mistake of believing otherwise. There is a place of competence in job delivery, and this can be achieved through training and experience.
You need to train and re-train your employees to achieve competence.
In another angle, employ a competent applicant for a role. They may make high wage demand, but most times at the long run it is worth it.
The Most Common Workplace Safety Mistakes as pictured in this article are salient things you should always look out for in the workplace. Some people say you cannot completely eradicate mistakes, but with good level of awareness and understanding it can be reduced to the barest minimum.