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Safety precautions to reduce risks of personal injury

There are many hazards such as chemicals and electric tools, to be found in a workplace. However, just because hazards are there does not mean that accidents will happen. The best way to make sure accidents do not happen is to keep yourself safe. If you do not know how to use something or do not know what something is – then don’t touch it, and ask for help.

Some general rules to follow in a workplace are:

  • Observe all the safety rules of the workplace.
  • Keep the workplace tidy – put things away when you have finished and clean up after yourself.
  • If an accident happens, report it to the person in charge.
  • Make sure you know what any warning signs mean and do what
    they say.
  • Do not do anything that you are unsure of, if in doubt — ask.

Everybody is responsible for keeping the workplace safe. You must also make sure that you do not do anything that will injure or harm someone else.There are a number of things that everybody should do to make sure the workplace is a safe.

Things to do

  • Keep the workplace tidy and keep the exits and walkways clear at all times. Get rid of empty boxes, bottles or containers.Make sure all chemicals are labelled and put away as soon as you have finished with them. Any spills should be cleaned up straightaway.
  • Check that you have all the safety equipment you need for a job before starting the activity.
  • When using tools, put them away after you have finished with them.
  • Get to know your workplace and where everything is. This equipment must be visible and accessible. Most importantly, everybody should know where to find the following:
    – a fire extinguisher
    – an emergency stop
    – a telephone in case of emergency
    – first aid kit
    – emergency exits

Smoking in the workshop
There are a number of fire hazards in a workplace. For example, flammable gases, certain chemicals, paper, wood and wood shavings.
Smoking increases the risk of fires. This is one of the reasons why smoking is not allowed in the workplace.

Most places have a special area set aside where people can smoke.

Safety barriers and specially designated walkways

Safety barriers and designated walkways are put in place to protect you. They are designed to keep you at a safe distance from hazardous materials (chemicals) and equipment (machines and tools).

You should only ever cross a safety barrier if you have permission to do so and you have been trained on how to work safely with the hazardous materials or equipment.

Designated walkways are usually marked out by yellow painted lines on the floor. When moving around the workshop you should keep within these painted lines. The only time you should move outside these walkways is when you are working in a particular area.

Personal protective clothing and equipment
Personal protective clothing and equipment (PPCE) is any item of clothing or equipment worn by a person to reduce their exposure to hazards. Examples of PPCE are earmuffs, respirators and gloves. The various types of PPCE are discussed further in Section 2.
Using PPCE does not remove or even control a hazard — it just reduces your exposure to the hazard — the hazard still exists.

PPCE will only work if:

  • they are selected carefully
  • they are used and looked after properly and regularly
  • people are trained how to use them correctly.

When buying or using PPCE for the first time you will need some advice and guidance from a safety specialist. Most suppliers of PPCE will be able to advise you on the right equipment and how to use it.

You should be aware of some common problems associated with the use of PPCE:

  • PPCE are often uncomfortable, making it difficult to work properly. This may cause stress, increase the time spent working in dangerous environments, and make it less likely that PPCE will be used properly.
  • Some equipment or clothing may limit your field of vision or hearing range. If you can’t see or hear properly, then you may not be able to see or hear warnings. Therefore, there may be more risks from other types of accidents on the job.
  • Wearing PPCE may give a false sense of security, so that not all of the other more important precautions are taken. For example, safety gloves will not be much protection if a chemical is dripping down your arm. It is important that all other precautions are followed, even if PPCE is worn.
  • Infection may result unless PPCE is personally issued and fitted, cleaned regularly and looked after properly, and you are properly trained how to use them. For example, sharing respirators is a way to spread colds and flu, and wearing dirty earplugs can cause ear infections.

Remember
The use of personal protective clothing and equipment does not remove the hazard. All it does is reduce the risk of injury or disease as long as it is selected carefully, used and looked after properly, and people are trained how to use it.