Workplace health and safety standards have improved dramatically over the years, partially through enforced legislation, partially due to enlightened management, and occasionally through the actions of whistleblowers and organized employee groups. Today, we have ample standards, guidelines, and laws providing protection, and it is often just ignorance of these, or indifference to them, which is where we fall short. Look at the factory floor today, and you are apt to see an area where cleanliness appears to be the rule, and everything is in its place. Office areas have become more open, less cluttered, and designed so that one can wander around the area without danger of tripping on cords or hitting sharp objects. This has happened slowly over time, but those who were in the workplace 50 years ago can certainly note major changes.
Good workplace health and safety practices are often established within the workplace itself, usually under the guidance and leadership of a supervisor or manager. Individual employees may decide to take an active role, being on a constant lookout for safety hazards, and maintaining an awareness of the general health environment. As a supervisor or employee, you should take it upon yourself to be aware of the health and safety environment where you work. Take notice of such things are air quality, physical hazards, chemical or radiation hazards, cleanliness in the office, and in the cafeteria. Take note if a co-worker seems to be having a work-related health problem. A particular allergy to something like a chair cushion can make life miserable for one person while not bothering anyone else. Don’t just let the higher ups bear the burden; they’ve dropped it on occasion. Make it your business to work with employees or co-workers, to see that you are spending 40 hours a week in a safe and healthy environment.
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