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New Year, New (Safe) Me

By Alexis Eades

It’s the end of January, a time to reflect. Did you make any resolutions this year? To be more mindful? To be more patient? Maybe to get more sleep? You should add workplace safety resolutions to your list of goals for the New Year!

Reflect on Your Past Experiences

Every experience is a learning opportunity. Reflect on your previous year. Were you as diligent as possible about health and safety in the workplace? Reflect on any accidents you experienced in 2021. Any slips and falls that could have been avoided? Think about the training you received. Was it sufficient? Did it leave you with any questions or did you notice any blind spots?

Review All Company Policies on Health and Safety

This is extremely important, as policies are always changing. Know your jobsite’s specific SOPs because there is a specific list of PPE and procedures for every jobsite. You can find these in the company’s manual. Stay up-to-date on your company’s manual, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t sure where or how. Read it with care and think about how you can best keep yourself accountable to review it. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as an employee isn’t something to take lightly!

Ask Any Questions You Have

In any situation, but especially when it comes to safety, it’s better to ask a question than to guess and put yourself and others at risk. This is true both for more junior professionals who may not know all the safety protocols, and more experienced employees who may not have refreshed themselves on best practices lately. Also, note that some tasks may simply require more than one person to be completed safely. Ask for help completing any tasks you suspect this may be the case.

Routinely Inspect Equipment

This is a great time to make sure you have routines and protocols around regularly inspecting your personal safety equipment and gear. Is your safety vest still properly fitted? Have the boots lost their non-skid ability? Do the safety glasses still allow clear vision? Does the helmet need replacement? You may also consider how to improve the inspections you’re already doing. Also, make sure equipment is left in good working order when you’re done using it (e.g. check air level in truck tires, ensure the vehicle is safe for the next person). Always report problems so the next person using it doesn’t inherit the safety issue.

Limit Distractions

Concentration can be obstructed by distractions. Perhaps the most easy-to-think-of example would be that texting and driving obviously reduces a person’s ability to concentrate, which is why it is illegal. Eating or drinking, dancing along to music, crying or having intense emotions while driving can all be distractions too. But distractions are not just limited to driving. Don’t let yourself get distracted while using any heavy machinery, any sharp objects, or anything where there is potential to harm yourself and others.

Know Who to Go To

When an emergency strikes in the office, make sure you know who to go to! Here at Colliers Engineering & Design, we have Office Safety Coordinators who are in charge at each of our offices.  Take the time to make sure you know how to respond in an emergency BEFORE the emergency strikes. Any CED employee with a question can also approach our Health and Safety Manager Lisa DeBenedetto for any questions or concerns!

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