A discussion regarding workplace safety doesn't have to strike an anxiety chord. Although it is important for employers to formulate safety programs and oversee their enforcement, it isn't as difficult a task as it may seem. Many workplace safety rules are not that different from the safety rules you learned as a child.

Basic housekeeping should be a number one priority in preventing workplace accidents. Not only is a clean work environment far more inviting to work in, but it also allows you to be more productive than a messy one. Most importantly, keeping the workplace clean means keeping it safe. When housekeeping chores like clearing away oil, water, and refuse are handled in a timely fashion, you keep the workplace both pleasant to work in and accident-free. Another way to prevent accidents is to keep aisles and exits clear of obstacles at all times. During work hours exit doors should remain unlocked. Keeping up with equipment maintenance is another rule that needs to be observed to remain accident-free.  All dangerous or unsafe equipment should be tagged and taken off the job floor until corrective maintenance has been completed.

Remember when you were in school, and the teacher told you to walk, and not run? This is another basic rule for the workplace as well.  Running unnecessarily sets the stage for possible injuries from falls. Unless the situation warrants it, you should always avoid running in the workplace.

There is tremendous potential for workplace damage and injury where chemicals are concerned. Hazardous materials should be kept in appropriate containers; and each container must be accurately labeled to indicate what's inside and any hazards associated with their use. Only employees who have completed special training should handle hazardous chemicals.

Flammable liquids are similar to hazardous chemicals in their potential for causing harm. All flammable liquids must be put in safety containers with appropriate labels. If a safety container becomes damaged, take it out of service as soon as possible and replace it with a new container. When not in use, containers holding flammable liquids should be kept in a proper storage area.

Fires don't wait around until you are ready to deal with them; they just keep on burning until they rage out of control. Having a fire extinguisher available when a fire starts can make the difference between little damage and catastrophic harm. Always be certain that fire extinguishers are in good working order, and that they are accessible at all times, in any situation where they may be needed.

Finally, employees should never hesitate to report unsafe acts or conditions to their department manager as soon as possible. It is crucial to be observant in identifying any problem areas that could cause an accident.  Your safety and the safety of your co-workers depend on everyone pulling together on a daily basis with safe behavior and practices at work.