Over 2 million U.S. workers are injured each year at their place of employment. Despite mandatory safety regulations, these accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate. While it is an employer’s responsibility to make sure their employees are following proper procedures, it’s up to each employee to do their part. Here are five ways to protect yourself from a workplace injury.

Be Alert

The best way to protect yourself from injury is to prevent an accident from occurring in the first place. If you see unsafe conditions, report the situation to management before someone has an accident. Observe the conditions of floors, staircases, ceilings, and machinery. Keep in mind that being alert for matters concerning safety will eventually catch the attention of management, who will appreciate the help.

Know the Risks

In many jobs, just showing up to work exposes you to some danger. This is especially true in areas where hazardous chemicals or machinery are heavily used. When in doubt, always ask supervisors about the risks associated with performing specific tasks. Familiarize yourself with chemicals used by reading their Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and do not attempt to undertake any jobs for which you haven’t been trained. Even if it seems easy, your inexperience could expose you and others to greater danger.

Obey Posted Signs

Keep an eye out for posted signs and always follow their instructions. This includes signs with rules applicable to specific work environments. While safety signs should always be posted in visible areas, there may be instances when a sign is needed in an area where no sign currently exists. If you see a need for a sign, let management know as soon as possible. Your initiative could prevent the company from having to file another personal injury claim.

Dress Appropriately

Dressing appropriately might seem insignificant, but sometimes it has everything to do with safety. Wearing the right clothing is particularly important in factory jobs, where there’s a greater risk of accidents. If there’s a dress code at your workplace, it was likely designed to help minimize injuries. This is especially true about protective garments, special boots, hard hats, and safety goggles. The day you neglect to wear one of these items could be the day you need it the most.

Follow Safety Programs

Keep in mind that everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace, not just your employer. That goes for each employee, from the lowliest maintenance worker to the most skilled technician. Make an effort to attend all safety meetings and take notes, whenever possible. Participate in all safety drills, so you’ll know what to do in the event of an emergency. Instead of thinking these activities are boring and dull, think of them as a form of training that could potentially save your life.

While it’s not possible to prevent every workplace injury, many of them are avoidable. The best way to ensure you don’t get injured at work is to take responsibility for your role in the bigger picture. That means knowing every aspect of your job, adhering to all rules and guidelines, and being alert enough to know when something isn’t right.

References:

Material Safety Data Sheets

Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips

Bachus & Schanker Law

9 Tips for Staying Safe and Healthy in the Workplace