It does not matter what section of what industry you work in; sooner or later
you will come across a safety concern in your place of work. It is the responsibility
of every employee and every employer to make the work place a safer one for
everyone else, so any safety issue needs to be addressed immediately. The problem
is, not all of the safety concerns you come across will be equal. While some
may only require a mop to fix, others may call for extreme measures.
Let's take a look at some basic steps to follow when you come across a
safety concern in any workplace.
First of all, it is important to understand that dealing with hazardous conditions
is not a fast track to better pay. We have all been in work situations where
a specific individual thinks that making a big deal of every issue will make
him a better candidate for a recruitment firm. Again, it must be stressed
that safety is a responsibility, not something to be done for extra credit.
In fact, there are situations where some actions may be counter-productive,
as far as getting noticed goes. That's why the first step in dealing with
any potentially hazardous condition at work is assessment. It's critical
to assess not only the hazard potential, but the actual conditions of any situation.
That spill might look easy to clean up, but if it's near a bathroom, treatment
bin, or chemical storage it might be quite hazardous. Have a look around the
area to see if septic trucks might be a better tool than mops before taking
After assessing the situation, make sure to mark out the area of concern clearly.
For a plant worker, this might mean putting up pylons as markers. For a real
estate agent for example, it might mean phoning the brokerage to let others know the problem
on a certain piece of real estate. The important thing is to make
sure that others are aware of the concern.
Next, report the issue if you are concerned about it. Note that this step still
comes before action; again, the issue you noticed may be a sign of a much bigger
problem. Moreover, another person in your workplace might have a better angle
on the origins of the hazard and be able to suggest a more definitive cause
The next step when encountering hazardous conditions in the workplace is dealing
with the issue itself. This could include anything from minor cleanup to a shutdown
of the facility, or even finding a new method to conduct business. You won't know the proper solution until the proper
levels have all been consulted, so really reporting may be the logical end point
of any efforts to deal with a safety hazard.
Finally, steps must be taken to ensure that the hazardous condition does not
occur again. This will of course be up to owners of the company involved, but
employees should not be afraid to follow through on any hazardous conditions
they have brought to the attention of upper management.
While safety is everyone's concern, all employees must remember that
they cannot deal with most concerns on their own. In fact, most of the time
resolution will only come through the involvement of individuals with more training
than you. The best an individual employee can do is to assess, warn, and report
the concern he or she came across.