Ensuring Safe Driving at Work
Driving is a common task for many employees. Workers across industry lines may get behind the wheel for various reasons, such as moving between job sites, delivering or picking up goods or materials, or transporting passengers. Yet, driving can pose a wide range of safety risks. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of work-related fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you regularly drive for work, it’s important to keep these safety measures in mind:
- Practice safety, even before you start driving. Before you put the key in the ignition, buckle up. Not only is it the law, but it can save your life in the event of an accident. Ensure you are well-rested and avoid taking medications that make you drowsy before getting behind the wheel. Never operate a vehicle if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Stay alert and focused at all times. Safe driving entails more than just obeying the rules of the road. It’s also crucial to be prepared for potential hazards and remain aware of other drivers sharing the road with you. Scan the roadways at all times to identify situations that may require quick reactions. To stay alert to what’s happening on the road, avoid these distractions while driving:
- Adjusting the radio or GPS
- Eating or drinking
- Making phone calls or texting
- Avoid aggressive driving situations. No driver enjoys sitting in traffic, especially when they are on tight schedules. Amid heavy traffic, it’s imperative to keep your cool and stay focused. Increased vehicle congestion means more vehicles may be attempting to change lanes without signaling, driving aggressively or braking suddenly. Always be patient and courteous to other drivers and never take their actions personally. Plan ahead for traffic and allow yourself plenty of time to travel. If possible, avoid high-traffic areas altogether.
Protecting Against Occupational Dust Exposure
Dust exposure is unavoidable in many workplaces. However, exposure to high concentrations of certain types of dust on the job—such as silica, wood, flour or asbestos—can create significant safety hazards. Such exposure could result in:
- Skin and eye irritation
- Sneezing and coughing
- Respiratory infections
- Asthma or other lung diseases
You may think larger dust particles are the biggest threat, but it’s actually smaller, finer particles that are the most dangerous. In any case, it’s important for employees like you to help minimize potential dust concerns at work. Follow these safety tips to protect yourself against dust exposure:
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE). If you work in an environment that may contain dust, be sure to wear all required PPE. This equipment may include safety glasses or goggles with protective side shields to guard your eyes. In addition, a dust-filtration mask may be necessary to protect your sinuses, mouth and lungs.
- Control the dust when possible. Eliminating dust entirely is the ideal way to minimize exposure. Although this is not always possible, ensure you follow all workplace requirements to control dust at the source, such as maintaining proper ventilation, tenting the dust or damping down materials to prevent the spread of dust. Also, clean up dust regularly as it accumulates on-site.
- Use proper storage measures. Dust-producing materials should be stored in airtight containers within organized storage rooms or closets. For example, ink toner cartridges should be placed in airtight containers and stored within supply closets to prevent toner dust from leaking into the air over time.
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