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How to Stay Safe in Your Work Environment (OSHA 40-Hour Online Course)

Keeping your job and staying safe go hand in hand, especially when working in a variety of hazardous environments. If you work in a dangerous environment, you need to be cautious and know how to stay safe at all times. While there are many potential hazards in any workplace, some jobs put workers at greater risk than others. Construction workers, first responders such as police officers or firefighters, and oil rig workers are just a few examples of professions that often involve working with heavy machinery or chemicals that can be dangerous if not handled correctly.

However, with the right precautions, anyone who works in a hazardous environment can stay safe from OSHA-recorded accidents. Dangerous work environments come with inherent risks; however, those risks can usually be mitigated by taking certain precautions. Finding out about what your specific job entails is the first step towards staying safe on the job site or at work. This HAZWOPER 40 Hour Online OSHA Training Course will provide you with all the information you need to stay safe while keeping your job…

Know the Common Hazards

Every industry has hazards that workers need to be aware of, but some are more common than others. For example, construction workers may be in danger of falling off the side of a building, getting hit by falling objects, electrocution by water, or being crushed by heavy objects if they aren’t careful. Welders, on the other hand, may be exposed to toxic fumes or ultraviolet rays from the light used to weld with. 

Hazardous materials are common in industries such as mining or chemical manufacturing, but also occur in certain health care settings. OSHA’s 1910.132 regulation defines a hazardous area as an area where conditions exist that are recognized by competent authorities to be capable of producing death or serious physical injury. Hazardous areas are generally characterized by the presence of a combination of two or more of the following hazards:

Hazards are Everywhere

In addition to being specific to certain industries, hazards come in various forms. Some common hazards include tripping or falling, electrocution, overexertion, exposure to hazardous materials or chemicals, and becoming trapped. It’s important to remain aware of your surroundings and potential hazards at all times to stay safe. It can also be helpful to learn a few basic first aid or CPR techniques just in case you ever have to help another employee who has been injured on the job.

Stay Visible at All Times

While many hazards can be avoided through proper safety gear and equipment, others are unavoidable. Because of this, it’s important that you remain visible to other workers at all times. This means staying out of blind spots such as behind heavy machinery or inside a wall where you can’t be seen. It’s also important to keep an eye on your fellow workers and let them know if they are in danger of hitting or injuring you. This can help prevent accidents from occurring. 

Working in teams can also help you stay safe at work. For example, if you and a co-worker must enter a narrow space, you can use a rope system and signal system to keep track of each other’s location and avoid getting stuck or injuring yourself while working.

Put on Proper Protective Gear

One of the most important safety precautions you can take is to put on the appropriate protective gear for your job. This includes things like heavy-duty gloves, hard hats, goggles, and respirators. It’s important to make sure the gear fits properly so it can do its job of protecting you from potential dangers, such as chemicals or falling objects. It’s also important to inspect your gear regularly for any potential wear and tear that could put you in danger. 

In some cases, you may be required to wear certain protective gear at all times on the job site or in the work area. In others, you may be required to wear protective gear only while in certain areas or while performing specific tasks. Make sure you understand the safety requirements at your job site before you start working so you know what type of gear you need to wear.

Be Careful When Traveling Through Tight Spaces or by Hand

Certain industries and job tasks require workers to travel through tight spaces or handle heavy objects that are difficult to maneuver. If you need to do any of these tasks, be careful not to hurt yourself or others. 

When traveling through narrow spaces, it’s important to stay away from the walls to avoid becoming trapped. It’s also important to avoid keeping the lights on while traveling through a small space, as this can cause combustible dust or gas to ignite. When moving heavy objects, it’s important to stay out of other people’s way, use equipment such as cranes or hoists if possible, and let others know when you’re coming through so they don’t get hurt.

Be Careful When Loading and Unloading Materials

Loading and unloading materials can be dangerous, especially if you’re not careful. Make sure you’re following any equipment safety guidelines on the vehicles or in the warehouses where you’re doing this work, and always secure materials properly to avoid tipping or falling. 

Follow all load-bearing weight restrictions to avoid overloading vehicles and tipping over, and make sure you’re using a secure anchor if you’re loading or unloading materials by hand. Never get in between two large vehicles, such as semi-trucks, while they’re being loaded or unloaded. If you have to load and unload materials at a dock, make sure you know how to safely load and unload materials using the equipment.

Be Careful When Moving Materials or Working on Scaffolding

Workers often need to move materials between floors or buildings, and construction sites often use scaffolding to make it easier to do so. However, moving materials and working on scaffolding can be dangerous if you’re not careful. When moving materials between floors, be sure to follow all building codes and use equipment such as lifts, cranes, or hoists if possible to make it easier. It’s also important to never overload lifts or use them improperly. When working on scaffolding, make sure it’s properly built according to the codes at your job site.

Don’t Forget About your Ears and Eyes

In addition to wearing proper protective gear, it’s also important to protect your ears and eyes. Ear protection can help reduce noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus, and eye protection can help reduce the risk of eye diseases such as macular degeneration. OSHA recommends that you use appropriate hearing and eye protection whenever noise exceeds 85 decibels (dB) or when there is a possibility of flying particles, splashes, sprays, or sparks. 

If you work in a noisy environment, use the appropriate hearing protection regardless of the decibel level. If you wear a hearing aid, make sure it’s properly protected as well. You can find out more about protecting your ears from noise at the NIOSH website.

Summing up

The best way to stay safe in a dangerous work environment is to know what hazards you’re facing and what safety precautions you can take to avoid them. This OSHA 40 hour online course discusses common hazards, appropriate safety gear, and how to stay safe while working in a variety of environments.

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