Special Topics in Safety Management

Loss Prevention Expert Shares Top 10 Tips

What are the most important steps you can take to eliminate injuries and reduce the costs associated with them? Keep reading for one expert’s top 10 workplace safety tips.

Kellie Crete manages safety and loss prevention for Gowrie Group (http://www.gowrie.com), a New England-based insurance provider. She says doing these 10 things can help cut losses and avoid OSHA citations. 

  • Provide fire extinguishers. Make them easily accessible. OSHA can fine up to $7,000 for a blocked extinguisher!
  • Use respirators properly. Remind employees to keep respirators in sealed containers when not in use and to clean them properly after each use. Respirators should not be shared.
  • Don’t rely on extension cords. Extension cords are for temporary use; unplug and put them away at the end of every shift. Never run them through doorways, behind desks, or tape them to walls.
  • Eliminate combustible dust. OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on combustible dust puts you at a higher chance of inspection. A simple way to measure dust accumulation is to place a paperclip on top of a surface (like an electrical outlet, panel, or fixture) and make sure dust does not cover the paperclip. Don’t allow a visible layer of the dust to accumulate in any area.

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  • Get up and stretch. Even when workstations are set up properly, stretching can help boost productivity and wellness. Workers who perform high-repetition tasks or jobs that require long periods of sitting can benefit from taking short breaks for standing, stretching, and moving around.
  • Use precautions around flammable products. Never put flammables (solvents, some cleaners, etc.) into spray bottles. The fumes and vapors they produce cannot be seen but can be extremely hazardous.
  • Read the owner’s manual. Always read the owner’s manual before using any new piece of equipment to get directions for proper use as well as safety and maintenance tips.
  • Be careful with filing cabinets. Never open more than one drawer at a time in order to avoid tipovers. And close the door completely when you’re finished to avoid bruised shins and trips.
  • Protect your eyes. Safety eyewear should be worn when operating machinery and tools, working with hazardous materials, or doing tasks that put employees’ eyes at risk. In some settings glasses are enough; goggles offer more protection from splashes, dust, or flying particles.
  • Unplug correctly. When unplugging tools, lighting, office equipment, or other devices, remember to use the plug rather than tugging on the cord. Pulling on the cord itself can damage the wires, resulting in fire or malfunction of the equipment.

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