Safety 101: Be Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings

One of the simplest ways to ensure safety at work is to be more alert and aware of your surroundings. Be vigilant about procedures and potential dangers that pose a threat to anyone’s safety and plan your actions in case there’s an accident. Not only are you protecting yourself, but you’re also responsible for the protection of those around you. You should know who’s working nearby and how your actions (or inaction) affect them. If you’re careless, you’re a liability to your employer, and they won’t keep you around long. Here’s how to be alert and aware of your surroundings at work.  


Keep your head on a swivel.

Don’t get complacent! Continually survey your work area, especially if your surroundings change or you rotate shifts and work with a variety of people. Make sure you have plenty of space to do your work and know who’s working nearby so you can protect them as well. And don’t hesitate to remind your coworkers to wear the proper safety equipment! Safety is an attitude, and attitudes are contagious. When you take safety seriously, your colleagues will, too.  


Be Present

Be aware of your body positioning and movements. Don’t move too quickly or carelessly and adjust your actions when walking through areas with a lot of machinery and moving parts, so you don’t get hurt. Be cautious when approaching corners and doorways, so you don’t run into anything.  



Talk to your colleagues at shift change and throughout your day and communicate any potential hazards as they come to replace you or vice versa. When you start your shift, ask questions about current dangers or safety hazards. Make sure you know the procedures needed to complete the job and have access to the right tools and safety equipment.  


Look for hazards.

Slipping hazards, uneven surfaces, and other obstacles can pop up seemingly out of nowhere. Keep an eye out for low-handing overhead objects, sharp edges, standing water, exposed wiring, unguarded equipment, general work environment conditions. When you’re preparing to transport materials, walk the route first to check for obstacles and tripping hazards and that there’s enough space to maneuver.   


Keep track of objects.

Keep all safety devices and personal protective equipment in their proper locations and make sure they’re in good working order before you use them. Store loose materials safely and be sure that any energy sources are appropriately locked out or tagged out before you walk away or punch out for the day.   


Minimize other hazards.

Be careful not to place extension cords or hoses or other objects that might cause someone to trip in high foot traffic areas. Practice proper housekeeping—if you make a mess, clean it up. Even something as simple as sawdust or water can cause someone to slip. Use signs or barricades to identify any potential hazards or to warn others of dangers in your work area.   


Looking for More Safety Tips?

For more tips on being alert at work, check out our website at   


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