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9 Workplace Safety Tips Employees Must be Aware of

Working hard is important, but staying safe should always be your top priority. Workplace injuries and illnesses can happen in an instant, even in environments that seem low-risk. In 2021 alone, almost 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these incidents could have been prevented with proper safety awareness. As an employee, you play a crucial role in protecting yourself and others on the job. Equipping yourself with safety knowledge helps avoid needless harm. Use this guide to learn some vital safety precautions every worker should know. 

  • Know Your Emergency Equipment

Part of workplace awareness is identifying emergency equipment locations. Take time to locate exits, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, alarm pull stations, and other gear. Understand emergency protocols like evacuation procedures. That way, if an urgent situation occurs, you can respond correctly without hesitation. For example, know how to safely use a fire extinguisher if a small fire breaks out. Or be able to guide coworkers toward the nearest stairwell exit in case of evacuation. During an emergency, it is not the time to wonder where safety stations are. Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with your surroundings. 

  • Know Your Workplace Rights

In case of exposure to any safety hazard that is not your fault or you were not made aware of beforehand, you can take legal action to defend yourself. Resources like provide checklists to ensure you know your workplace rights. Their attorneys can advise on issues like asbestos exposure, sexual harassment, and personal injury claims. 

  • Use Equipment and Machinery Safely

One of the biggest workplace dangers is the improper use of equipment and machinery. Always completely follow manufacturer instructions and training when operating anything mechanical. Never take shortcuts or remove safety features from heavy equipment. Confirm all guards are in place before using machinery. Report any defective or damaged equipment for repair or replacement before attempting jobs. Also, be sure to fully clean and inspect equipment on a regular basis. Proper use and maintenance prevent malfunctions and breakdowns that lead to employee harm. 

  • Wear Necessary Protective Gear

While it may look awkward or seem inconvenient, wearing personal protective equipment can mean the difference between walking away unharmed or suffering serious injury. Items like hard hats, hearing protection, safety harnesses, gloves, and goggles safeguard your body from workplace hazards. Keep in mind that regular clothes or street shoes do not provide adequate protection from chemical or mechanical dangers. Do not make the mistake of assuming you’ll be fine without your safety gear. Something as simple as wearing cut-resistant gloves or boots with slip-resistant soles can prevent lacerations or fractured bones. 

  • Avoid Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

One of the most frequent causes of workplace injury is easily preventable – slips, trips, and falls. Spills, cluttered walkways, uneven surfaces, or weather conditions can all increase fall risks. Be proactive by cleaning up spills right away and warning others with signage until it’s fixed. Report any flooring in need of repair. Keep walking paths clear of electrical cords, tools, materials, and other obstructions. Use floor mats or anti-slip footwear in slick areas. Close file cabinets or storage drawers when not in use to avoid tripping. Hold handrails when using stairs or ramps. Be extra cautious of slippery conditions like wet, oily, or icy floors.

  • Eliminate Fire Hazards

Fire presents a grave workplace danger, especially in industrial settings or kitchens. Be vigilant about clearing away unnecessary combustibles and flammables. Keep your work area tidy and free of clutter that could fuel flames. Use flammable materials cautiously and only in well-ventilated areas away from ignition sources. Shut off and fully disconnect electrical equipment like hot plates, machinery, and heaters at the end of each shift or workday. Check that wiring is not damaged or overloaded at outlets. Know how to fully extinguish gas flames or pilot lights on devices when not in use. Ensure chemicals are properly stored in designated flammable cabinets. And know the location of your pull station and fire extinguishers in case a fire does break out.

  • Contain Hazardous Materials Properly

Hazardous materials include any substance that poses health or physical risks, like chemicals, dust, radioactive, or flammable materials. Always use extreme care when handling these agents to avoid exposure or cross-contamination. Prevent tracking toxins between work zones by dedicating separate tools and protective equipment just for use with hazardous materials. Decontaminate or dispose of these items properly. When working with hazardous substances, contain them within marked areas with proper ventilation hoods, shields, and labeled waste receptacles. Change out any clothes contaminated during your shift and wash them separately before wearing them again. 

  • Secure Stacked or Overhead Objects

Improperly stacked or stored objects create major falling hazards. Secure overhead storage shelves, cabinets, machinery, and materials so they cannot fall on workers below. When stacking boxes, equipment, or other items, follow common sense rules. Place heavy objects on the bottom of stacks for stability. Don’t overload shelves beyond weight capacities. Keep stacks low and neat without leaning or bulging items. Use restraints like straps, rails, or nets to contain loose items on shelves or racks. Never stack objects directly above walkways or workstations where falling materials could strike. 

  • Maintain Healthy Posture and Movement

Ergonomic risks like strain from repetitive motions or bent postures lead to accumulated injuries over time. Be aware of how you use your body during work tasks. Adjust your workstation so you can maintain neutral postures as you work. Get up and move around periodically to avoid staying in one position too long. Set reminders if needed. Use lifting aids when moving heavy objects rather than straining your back. Bend knees and avoid twisting when lifting manually. Arrange your computer station to prevent neck and wrist strain. Keep your wrists neutral while typing. Set monitors at eye level and keep elbows close to your body. Any tasks involving repetition or awkward positions should be broken up with breaks or rotations. 


Workplace safety ultimately depends on the worker’s mindset. Adopt a priority for staying protected and encourage those around you to do the same. Put these eight tips into practice every single day. They will become healthy habits that benefit you for your entire career. Safety may not always seem urgent at the moment, but preventing accidents before they occur is truly the wisest approach. Stay vigilant, take precautions, and keep yourself secure.

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