Dancing for Safety
Trying to maintain workplace safety is never easy. Companies write best practices, policies and guidelines regularly to keep workers safe. Where there is often a breakdown is in having people actually follow those practices, policies and guidelines. As a former educator, engaging students and having them work with me rather than against me could be challenging. Even though my subject matter was science and my students were high school students, the data is clear. Music is a powerful tool to help with learning, driving concepts home and strengthening the mind.
So, to get workers involved with their own safety perhaps the 1980s song “Safety Dance” by the band Men Without Hats can be used. (Click here to hear the song) Granted the lyrics are not exactly written for workplace safety but the rhythm of the song and the chorus can be used to ask some basic questions every employee should ask every day.
What are the basic safety questions that can keep someone safe? Various websites are dedicated to worker safety and tips for maintaining it. Below is a list of my top five.
- What is my work area?
This is important to know in case there is electrical equipment, hazardous chemicals or machinery in your area that could impact how you do a job. Be aware of any changes in the area and be sure to evaluate them for any possible impact on safety. If something seems unsafe, then report it to a Supervisor. Also, know the Proper Protective Equipment (PPE) needed in your area and wear it appropriately.
- Is my posture OK?
Know if you should lift something and how to lift it. Use wheelbarrows, forklifts or hand trucks for heavy items. For new jobs or equipment perhaps an ergonomic review is needed. This review can help determine if a chair, table or other devices can be added to take strain off of muscles and joints.
- Have I taken a break recently?
This question ties into ergonomics, too. Injuries can often occur due to repetitive work. Plus, after an extended period of time the level of alertness and focus on a task is impaired. Breaks also help relieve worker stress. Stress can lead to concentration problems and depression which can in turn lead to impaired safety.
- What is this machine?
Always be aware of how the equipment in your area works and how to use it in your current job. Never use an incorrect tool for any job or take shortcuts. Be knowledgeable of your company’s lockout/tagout program. Here again, use the proper PPE for the job and machine.
- Where are my emergency exits and first aid stations?
In case of any emergency, you may be asked to evacuate your area. Always know how to get out safely and where to report in such a situation. Keep the path to the exits clear. For minor injuries, know how and where to receive help.
Always remember, “S-s-s-s A-a-a-a F-f-f-f E-e-e-e T-t-t-t Y-y-y-y / Safe, dance!”