Commonsense and safety in the workplace

These days, Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is everywhere we look. A rise in lawsuits as a result of work related injuries has certainly been a factor in the increase of guidelines and policies we now see throughout our workplaces. Effective workplace safety is more than policies and procedures, but it doesn’t have to be onerous. The basis for a safe workplace is ensuring that employees practice their daily routine tasks with a degree of commonsense, and do not take risks with their personal safety.
With daily attention, these simple, common sense tips will become instinctive practices, and your workplace will reap the benefits.

Pay attention to your environment

Known your workplace, and learn to recognize potential hazards. Machinery, hazardous chemicals, moving vehicles, even a hot beverage in an open mug. Don’t be complacent, and these risks are easily avoidable

Physical awareness

It does not matter if your job involves 8 hours of sitting at a desk, or manual labour, a back injury can happen to anyone. Poor posture at your desk can lead to tightness in your shoulders and neck, leading to debilitating headaches and affect your ability to work efficiently. Bend with your knees, not from your back. Request an ergonomic assessment of your workstation to make your workday as comfortable as possible.

Take breaks, and listen to your body

Too many workplace accidents happen due to tiredness or lack of focus. Make sure to get up from your desk regularly, and move your body. Stretching, a short walk, some fresh air, all these things can help to realign your body and mind. Today’s workplace is all about balance, so don’t be afraid to implement regular breaks. It will improve efficiency, and mood within the workplace.

Familiarity breeds complacency

Don’t fall into the trap of automatic pilot when operating tools and machinery. Over time, our reactions become so familiar automatic, we don’t pay close attention to what we’re doing, and this is when accidents occur. Take breaks, focus, and give your complete attention to what you’re doing to greatly reduce the chance of accident or injury.

Don’t take shortcuts

If your job requires personal protective equipment such as earplugs, a safety helmet, safety glasses or gloves, don’t take the risk with your personal safety by neglecting to use these items. Yes, it might mean the task takes a little longer, but be aware that in the event of a workplace accident, many compensation claims can be adversely affected if the claimant is found to have not worn the appropriate safety equipment.


The success of a workplace safety initiative has a lot to do with how it is implemented. Endless power-point presentations and lectures will not have the desired effect. Present statistics and examples of real workplace accidents to ensure attention is focused, and the seriousness of the topic. Offer incentives to reward great workplace safety behavior, and encourage each employee to own his or her part in creating a safe and accident free workplace.