Whether your occupation requires work on rooftops, a factory floor or anywhere in between, it’s clear that workers in all trades face potential safety hazards throughout their day. Each year, many become injured or sick and experience serious and even life-threatening conditions due to factors beyond their control.
Based on a recent Wisconsin Safety Council survey, workers across the state indicate they face common safety hazards on the job, such as exposure to sick coworkers (85%) and interaction with hazardous materials and chemicals (80%).
Here are some safety tips for today’s skilled trade workforce:
TAKE EQUIPMENT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
When your job involves physical labor such as demolition or operating heavy machinery, injuries become a real possibility. Always follow equipment safety best practices.
- Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize exposures based on your industry. This equipment includes items such as gloves, safety glasses and boots, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.
- Wear protective apparel based on your work environment to prevent injuries such as burns from sparks, liquid splashes from harmful chemicals and protect against hazardous particles. High visibility reflective clothing is also important to ensure you are seen in specific environments.
- Do not operate tools and equipment unless properly trained to do so.
- When moving heavy items on and off a truck or trailer, unload equipment on level ground to avoid rollovers.
- Always stay in communication with team members when operating equipment and appoint a spotter to visibly guide and direct you to avoid blind spots.
- Know your surroundings. Be aware of the location of other workers and equipment to stay back and out of the way.
WATCH THE WEATHER
Winter in Wisconsin can bring extreme temperatures and unpredictable weather conditions that can change on short notice. Be prepared when working outside. Without the right precautions, extreme hot or cold temperatures can result in health issues from minor colds to more serious conditions like heat stroke, hypothermia or frostbite. Prepare hot drinks to warm up from cold weather but avoid caffeine, which can contribute to frostbite. If you are working in extreme heat, be sure to apply sunscreen regularly and wear loose, breathable, light-colored clothing and a brimmed hat. Have a change of clothing in case of sudden storms and take the time to change into dry warm clothing rather than continuing to work in a wet uniform. Slips and falls, especially on wet surfaces, are among the top work–related injuries. Be prepared to warn individuals of wet surfaces with proper signage where necessary.
It’s important to maintain standard procedures to keep employees healthy and productive.
- Take frequent breaks when working on physically demanding jobs and know your bodily limits.
- Use correct posture when performing physical tasks including heavy lifting to avoid the risk of injury.
- Stay home from work when sick to prevent the spread of illness. Educate team members about proper respiratory practices, including coughing or sneezing into their elbows instead of their hands.
- Handwashing stations or hand sanitizer pumps should be easily accessible to reduce germ transmission.
KEEP TRACK OF TOOLS
Taking care of tools by cleaning them thoroughly after every use and storing them properly will ensure that they last longer and remain in good condition for many years. Avoid leaving your tools out in the open when you are not present to avoid potential theft and mark tools with company initials, which makes them harder to sell if they are ever stolen. Follow tool safety guidelines, including reading instruction manuals and checking tools carefully prior to each use.
Having regular safety training sessions can help keep incidents down and workdays more productive. For more safety solutions, download our free Work Safe in Wisconsin e-book.
To learn more about work safety tips and worker’s compensation insurance, contact your Rural Mutual agent.
The information provided in external website links is for general informational purposes only and does not form any recommendation or warranty by Rural Mutual Insurance Company or its affiliates.