Every workplace has its own hazards. For some, it's heavy machinery. For others, it's falls from heights. For still others, it's exposure to dangerous substances.
The key to staying safe is consistency. You need to know what you can do every day to protect yourself. With this focus on safety, you can work to avoid serious injuries that will change the course of your life.
To help you get started, here are seven important tips that can help in almost any workplace:
1. Take breaks when you need them
Many workers get hurt because they work too much. If you feel fatigued and worn down, you make mistakes. Tell someone that you can't work safely and ask for a break.
2. Focus on awareness
Pay close attention to your surroundings at all times. Do not get distracted by your phone or by a conversation with another worker. Distractions lead to serious errors and injuries in the workplace, just like they do for drivers on the highway.
3. Tell someone about unsafe conditions
Never ignore unsafe conditions. You have a right to a safe workplace. When your company ignores safety guidelines, you should tell someone and then file a report if they don't fix it.
4. Get the right training
Do not use tools and heavy equipment if you can't do it properly. Ask for the right training. Make sure you can do things safely before moving forward. If you feel unsure, alert someone and ask that another employee takes over while you get more training.
5. Understand emergency procedures
Know where the fire exits are. Ask where you can find a first aid kit. Find out what steps you need to take in an emergency in advance so that you don't have to think about it in the moment.
6. Wear safety gear
Workers often feel tempted to leave safety gear at home if they have a lot of experience and they have never gotten hurt. Don't do it. Don't take that risk. Put on the right gear every day.
7. Never work under the influence, and report anyone who does
This starts with never drinking on the job, but it goes farther than that. Make sure you know about all of the side effects of any medications you take.
Injuries still happen
Of course, injuries are always possible. Safety tips like these can help reduce the risk, but nothing removes it completely. Too many factors are out of your control. The job may be inherently dangerous, for instance, or you may have coworkers who put you at risk.
If you get injured at work, you must know all of the legal options at your disposal to seek compensation. Remember, workers have distinct rights in Iowa, and you need to know how to exercise them.