Ways Your Workplace Should Be Keeping You Safe
Your job is a hectic place. It can be physically and mentally demanding, especially when you’re under deadlines or high demands. What is unfortunately often overlooked is safety.
Last year in Alberta alone there were 166 men and women who died because of a workplace injury or illness. That number is way too high. Albertan’s have also become increasingly less likely to report workplace safety issues. Out of a poll of 2,000, workers they found that nearly 70 per cent of disabling workplace injuries in Alberta go unreported.
Here are ways that your workplace should be looking out for your safety.
One of the main ways you know your workplace is safe is if there isn’t a culture of fear. No one should be afraid to report any health and safety issues with a supervisor or management. In fact, management should encourage it. If you see something you should say something, because managers may not always know what’s going on in the workplace. If you find managers aren’t receptive to this, you can always reach out anonymously to Occupational Health and Safety.
A good employer should have regular check-ins with employees to make sure that not only are safety protocols are being followed, but that everyone’s mental health is okay. This doesn’t mean doing a psychological assessment but just asking how people are doing with their workload. Check-ins are not only good for safety but also morale. If management isn’t doing this, try suggesting it to them as something you would like to see happen.
This is probably the most influential tool employers can use to ensure safety in the workplace. It has been proven to decrease injuries and make safety protocols clearer and more accessible. It doesn’t matter how much experience an employee has in an industry, you can always learn more. Safety training doesn’t just have to be for jobs that involve physical labour. Mental health training has been encouraged for workplaces across the country with the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s workplace standards guide.
A workplace needs good leaders for a lot of reasons and safety is definitely one of them. Research shows that having safety leaders within an organization has a direct ‘impact on injury rates and overall safety performance.’ A leader doesn’t necessarily need to be a manger but can be anyone that employees look to for guidance or knowledge. It could be you.
Rewards can definitely be a good thing in the workplace, but dangerous when it comes to safety. Employers should never encourage employees to push themselves ‘at any cost’ to meet a deadline, whether that push includes physical or mental effort. The ‘whatever it takes’ attitude can create an extremely unsafe workplace. Instead, employers should reward employees who actually follow safety protocols.
Tools and Resources
Employers should make sure you have all the resources and tools you need in the workplace to make sure your workplace is safe. This includes manuals, posters and access to outside resources that could assist you. If you ever feel like you need to know more information or resources than your employer is giving you then you should visit the Love Your Job resource page.
Having someone to look out for your safety in the workplace when your employer isn’t crucial. Researchers have found in both North America and internationally, that where there is a union present, workplace injury rates are lower than non-union. In Canada, a recent study found that unionized construction sites were 30 per cent less likely to suffer critical injuries. Unions allow you to have a Shop Steward in the workplace who can help inform you of your rights and help you refuse unsafe work. You will also have a collective agreement that adds an extra layer of protection for safety in the workplace.
If you have questions or need to report an incident you can contact Occupational Health and Safety.
The contact centre is open 24 hours a day and can be reached toll-free at:
1- 866-415-8690 (Alberta) or at 780-415-8690 (Edmonton).
The Distress Line is a great resource to call if you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to.
You can contact them at:
403.266.HELP (4357) in Calgary
780-482-HELP (4357) in Edmonton and 1-800-232-7288 in rural areas.
We're here to help
Do you have any questions about your rights in the workplace or need someone to talk to about your job stress? Contact one of our free labour counsellors at (403) 259-4608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health & Safety