In the workplace, you could be at risk for illness, injury or even death. Especially for high-risk jobs, it's important to choose an employer with the financial resources to provide a safe environment. It's not enough for an employer to be subject to the rules of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Work for an organization that carefully hires workers, offers ongoing safety training and carries worker's compensation insurance. Or, ensure you get a sufficient wage to afford your own hazard insurance.
Some workers go blindly into their job, assuming their employer has done everything to keep them safe. They feel protected when they work under worker's compensation insurance. However, human lapses in judgment and unsafe actions can occur anywhere in an organization, placing you at a safety disadvantage. Also, you could be at greater risk for safety risks if workers perceive you as having special needs, such as being pregnant, disabled or advanced in age. Work for an organization that treats workers equitably regardless of any special circumstances.
Some workplace activities have a greater built-in risk. Employers should prioritize the purchase of safety tools and equipment and train you in their use. You might also be responsible for using equipment to protect others or save their lives. If your job requires the use of preventive wear or safety equipment, use them appropriately every day. Don't work for an employer that neglects to keep safety equipment in working condition, in stock and available for your regular use.
You can incur some safety disadvantages from events in your external environment. Employees and customers can be placed at risk by natural disasters, acts of war, terrorism, sabotage, crime, and other adverse events. What matters here is that your organization has a set of safety plans to follow for major types of events. Learn your employer's plans for different emergencies -- including hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, bomb threats and intruder scenarios. If you're supposed to assume a large role in an emergency, such as aiding a patient with a life-threatening reaction to anesthesia, know what you're supposed to do and practice your duties often.
You are in a better position to overcome safety disadvantages by working in a strong safety culture. This is defined as an organization with a leadership strongly focused on safety culture and characterized by mutual trust and teamwork. Its leaders will create extensive safety policies and procedures and ensure that they are continuously improved. Workers will get frequent training, updated to reflect changes in policies and procedures. Leaders will provide coaching to employees so they can increase their level of safety. Leaders will ensure that employees comply with safety controls and demonstrate safe attitudes.
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