Safety measures are conscious acts and strategies adopted to improve the overall safety of a given task, process or an organization at large. Safety as already established is a state of being “safe”, the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes.
Safety measures can also be said to be a set of activities and precautions taken to improve safety, i.e. reduce risk related to human health.
There are lots of safety measures adopted in different workplaces today, from simple safety measures (Use of PPE) to complex safety measures (Process Safety management).
Factors that affect safety measures
Safety measures are affected by certain factors, which includes:
- Management commitment: If the management is not committed to safety, they may not consent to some proposed safety measures; they will tend to practice safety of convenience.
- Safety culture: Poor safety culture will tantamount to poor safety measures.
- Organizational size
- Organizational process
- Interest parties
- Organizational financial strength
- Government policies
- Economic state of the host country/state
Safety measures can be divided into:
- Organisational measures
- Technical protective measures and
- The use of personal equipment
- Design and use of more safe equipment and technologies
- Replacing dangerous equipment and products by non-dangerous or less dangerous ones
- Improvement of working environment
- Establishment of work and rest time
- Use and maintenance of personal protective equipment,
- Management and staff training
- Improvement of communication
- Setting up workers welfare structure
Workers are expected to use their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) correctly at all times. Well-fitted safety glasses or goggles, and helmets are to be worn at all times while on site. Ear plugs or muffs should be worn whenever working in noisy environments, and protective gloves when dealing with toxic chemicals.
Anti-slip footwear and protective masks are necessary for anyone working in a dusty or toxic environment. Fall harnesses are also essential when workers are working at height. Steel toe boots are essential for your feet’s safety. In fact, workers are required by OSHA to wear steel toe boots whenever working at a construction site.
Other common safety measures include:
- Chemical analysis
- Destructive testing of samples
- Drug testing of employees, etc.
- Government regulation
- Instruction manuals explaining how to use a product or perform an activity
- Root cause analysis to identify causes of a system failure and correct deficiencies.
- Periodic health evaluation
- Process safety management
- Setting up of safety margins/safety factors
- Implementation of standard protocols and procedures so that activities are conducted in a known way.
- Stress testing subjects a person or product to stresses in excess of those the person or product is designed to handle, to determining the “breaking point”.
- Emergency management plan
- First aid plan
In conclusion, safety measures are not limited to what is mentioned in this article. You are at liberty to adopt yours as far as it meets the aim at which it was proposed.
Though some measures are defined by regulations, some could be adopted through individual ingenuity depending on the peculiarity of the situation.