These days, “stay safe” includes protecting yourself against a number of risks ranging from COVID-19 to crisis situations and natural disasters, no matter where you are. Here are some important things you can do to stay both safe and healthy in the workplace.
Check on—and follow—your company’s COVID-19 protocols. This may include mask wearing, social and physical distancing, testing requirements, and other measures.
Take your own COVID-19 precautions. For example, sanitize your workstation, wash your hands frequently, and cover your sneezes with a tissue. Know–and monitor–your symptoms, and stay home if you are sick. For more guidance, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/returning-to-work.html
Know your employer’s emergency plan and the nearest emergency exits. Always attend fire drills. Find out where first aid kids and/or survival kits are stored and, if available, how to use the automated external defibrillator (AED) device.
Protect against on-the-job injury. Wear appropriate safety gear. Remember to protect your back—squat using your leg muscles to lift heavy objects, and sit with your shoulders and hips aligned to reduce pressure on your spine. Take your breaks and get plenty of sleep to help reduce your risk of injuries and accidents caused by exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
Tell your boss or HR about any unsafe conditions. Report extreme temperatures, toxic fumes, broken glass, unsafe fixtures or obstacles blocking pathways.
If you’re working after hours, create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation. Or ask a security guard to escort you. Always park in well-lighted, high-traffic areas, and have your keys in your hand as you approach your car.
If a coworker shows any signs of potential violence, report this to your supervisor, HR or the appropriate person.
Immediately report any incidents of harassment. This includes sexual and nonsexual threats of any kind via in person or via emails, calls or texts from coworkers, customers, family members, acquaintances or strangers. Let the HR representative or security officer know right away if you are being stalked or followed or feel unsafe in any way.
Do you have physical or mental health issues that place you at certain risks at work? Be sure to talk to your doctor or a licensed counselor for more guidance.