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Accident Prevention

Preventing accidents is everybody's job. These prevention activities have a huge payback, both financially and in terms of morale.

  1. Be extra cautious when using toxic substances. If allowed to enter the body, they can cause damage to your nervous system, bones, or reproductive organs. They can be inhaled as dust, fumes, mists, vapours, or gases.

    Toxic substances can enter your body if you

    • eat in a dusty area;

    • fail to wash your hands before eating;

    • lick your lips while working with toxic chemicals or in a dusty area;

    • forget to cover your food in a dusty area.

  2. Reduce your risk of toxic poisoning by

    • encouraging the replacement of toxic chemicals with more benign products;

    • protecting yourself with goggles, gloves, and adequate overalls;

    • ensuring that the process takes place in an enclosed area;

    • improving ventilation;

    • having written procedures for handling dangerous chemicals;

    • rotating tasks so that your exposure is more limited;

    • showering before going home each day;

    • eating as far away from the hazardous areas as possible;

    • being trained in what substances can harm you, how to handle chemicals safely, how to get rid of chemical waste safely, appropriate clothing and its care, and how to deal with an emergency;

    • reporting concerns such as spills, unusual odours, and leaks.

  3. Take care of your hearing. Ill effects are non-reversible. Ensure that

    • machines are maintained regularly, so they are less noisy;

    • sound-absorbing materials are used where possible;

    • noisy machines are enclosed;

    • noise is directed away from employees;

    • you wear appropriate hearing-protection equipment at all times.

  4. Improve the ergonomics of your workplace. Ergonomics is the science of making work fit individuals, to prevent injuries such as

    • back sprains;

    • pain in the shoulders, arms, or neck;

    • eye strain;

    • repetitive sprains.

  5. Typical problems that can be addressed by ergonomic solutions include:

    • constant reaching;

    • frequent bending;

    • a need to stand or sit in one place for prolonged periods of time;

    • a need to use tools that require a repetitive motion to work.

  6. Take action to prevent a problem by

    • asking for help to change the way you work;

    • suggesting improvements;

    • being particularly careful when lifting heavy objects;

    • not standing or sitting in one place too long — stretch often;

    • making adjustments to the work station to help you;

    • discussing your concerns with the supervisor or members of your Health and Safety committee, or both.

  7. Back strains are the most common workplace injury. Avoid them by

    • following workplace practices;

    • shifting your body frequently, so as to avoid rigidity;

    • using equipment the way it was designed to be used;

    • asking for help if you anticipate a problem;

    • stretching frequently;

    • exercising your back muscles;

    • wearing shoes with low heels and non-skid soles.

  8. If you need to move heavy objects

    • Plan the move before you start.

    • Anticipate the weight and figure out the easiest way of moving the object.

    • Get help, if neccessary.

    • Stand with your feet spread shoulder-width apart.

    • Crouch down to get a firm grip on the object.

    • Keep the item close to your body as if you were hugging it.

    • Use your leg muscles to lift the item. Keep your back straight.

    • Make sure you can see where you are going.

    • Move slowly but surely.

    • Avoid twisting. Turn with your feet, not your waist.


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