How to Stay Safe at Work: The Trades

How to Stay Safe at Work: The Trades

by Giselle Mazurat
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

If you’re a young person working in the trades, you deserve to be safe. However, every day someone like you gets injured on the job. In fact, hundreds of young workers are injured every year; and sometimes their lives are altered forever. All injuries are preventable so getting injured should never be a normal part of going to work. By being observant and using common sense, you can be safe on your job. Every. Single. Day.

Know Your Rights

If you think your work is unsafe for you or someone else, you can refuse to do it. Your supervisor cannot fire or punish you. That is the law.

You have the right to know the risks of doing a job that can hurt you. The company is obligated to tell you all the hazards and how to protect your safety and health.

You have the right to protect yourself by asking questions on safety, reporting unsafe conditions, following safety rules and participating in safety activities.

Don’t Consume Alcohol or Drugs

Number 1, you can get fired. And, number 2, they can alter your sense of perception and judgement and cause you to seriously injure yourself or someone else. Alcohol and drugs contribute to 3% of workplace deaths. Don’t be a statistic.

Make Sure You’re Properly Trained

Ask your supervisor what training you need to perform your job safely. Attend all the training sessions and always arrive on time. Take lots of notes and be very attentive to the company’s safety rules, standards, procedures and policies. If you’re given reading material, review it carefully and make sure you understand everything. When doing a task for the first time – especially a complex task – ask your supervisor to check if you’re doing it properly and safely. If your supervisor will be away, find out who you can turn to if you have any questions.

Ask Questions

There are no “dumb” questions. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your supervisor to explain something you don’t understand. Never assume you can do a task without proper instruction, guidance or supervision. And, if a task is over your head, say so! Don’t attempt a task that you can’t handle or never done before.

Report Hazards and Risks

Learn to spot hazards and risks. If you notice anything that can hurt you or a co-worker, report it to your supervisor immediately. Similarly, speak up if you notice a co-worker breaking the safety rules. You may feel like a snitch, but the few minutes you take to talk to your supervisor is nothing compared to the impact of a devastating injury. Besides, your supervisor will thank you for it.

Wear Proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

PPE includes steel toe boots, hard hats, hair nets, gloves, aprons, safety glasses, masks, ear plugs, etc. It will protect you from injury and can even save your life. Ask your supervisor about the required PPE and learn to use it properly. Make sure it’s the right size and comfortable to work in.

Lift Heavy Objects Carefully

Always protect your back when lifting heavy objects. Keep heavy loads close to your body, avoid twisting your body and use your thigh muscles when carrying or lifting heavy loads. Take advantage of mechanical aids like a forklift or conveyor belt to help you move or lift heavy objects.

Many companies have work safety programs and are vigilant in protecting their employees. By obeying their rules and keeping the safety conversation going, you’ll do your part in maintaining a safe workplace.

Giselle Mazurat received her designation as a Certified Resume Strategist from the Career Professionals of Canada. She also writes technical and business content for government and private companies.

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