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Never Look Past Health And Safety

We all want the best from our careers, right? It’d be crazy to think otherwise. Our career path and choices are one thing we have to nail when we want to think about a good life. A good life? It has a foundation of happiness, and nothing can make one more happy than being in a good and rewarding line of work – whether it is a temporary path for yourself, or one of many steps on the career ladder – being happy and feeling fulfilled in your job can add a lot to your life, no matter the earnings of the role.

There’s a lot that can add to happiness in a role. If you’re happy with your current role, it could be because of a number of valid reasons. We could be very happy with our role due to it’s location – it might be in a big city that provides us with a bunch of opportunities for ourselves outside of the workplace and our career – the same goes for our family. A job with a good location could give our family a lot of opportunities. Good location also means that you may not have to commute for hours upon hours to get to your job, it could be on your doorstep. We could be happy with our current role as it might compensate well – we all get into work for one reason, really, above all – and that is to get paid. If we are getting paid what we think we are worth, it means we will be a lot happier than we would be in a role where we thought we were being underpaid! Being underpaid can cause a huge drop in morale, and even if it’s a dream role, the thought of being underpaid can ensure that a worker is not happy in what would be, under other circumstances, a dream role. Being paid what you think you are worth can make almost any role, a great role. You could also be happy with a role at work if you believe it is one of the rungs in a career ladder – if you know that by excelling in your current role, that you’ll grow and there will be room within the company (or externally) for upward growth, it can make a role worth the time and effort. In some circumstances – like an internship – it can make up for the lack of compensation – sometimes.

However, one thing we need in any role in life is safety. You might not consider it in life, but if we aren’t safe at work – we could be in grave danger – yet it doesn’t really cross our minds. It doesn’t cross our minds because most companies and workplaces in the world choose to educate employees and enforce safety in the workplace – however, that doesn’t mean personal responsibility can be discounted in anyway shape or form. Just because it’s easier than ever to be safe at work doesn’t mean you can neglect yourself – or your actions in the workplace. Health and safety legislation is well known – but it differs from country to country, so check for guidance in your area, pay attention and ensure you are happy at work by not injuring yourself or others in the workplace.

Health and safety at work is incredibly serious. When companies breach health and safety laws in the workplace, there can be huge consequences when a case is brought to court regarding health and safety violations. One company was fined £7,760 for a number of offenses. That is nearly $10,000! Health and safety visitations are an important part of enforcing health and safety in the workplace – so when inspectors identify clear breaches of health and safety policy, they do come down hard. For the £7,760 fine, a company was using a faulty mechanism to create produce that could have caused serious injury. They had also failed in training staff in the use of equipment, failing to provide protective equipment, failing to implement basic health and safety procedures and failing to complete risk assessments. These are all basic areas of health and safety, and even though the issues were rectified by the time an inspector returned, it was too late to avoid a huge fine. With health and safety, there can be no excuses – not for you, or your employer. However, the employer has the responsibility to educate, train and protect its staff. That burden is on them, so highlight any issues with your employer!

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There is a strong argument that health and safety in the workplace has been taken too far. That argument mostly stems from business owners – but still – it’s worth examining. One case of health and safety law saw a deaf worker becoming banned from feeding their hearing dog as it was assumed that this would spread germs through the office. One employee searched for a band-aid only to find that they had been removed from a first-aid kit for allergy reasons. A lot of stories emerge from the tabloids and show children being banned from playing at school for health and safety reasons – but no law exists for this to be enforced en masse.

As ridiculous as some circumstances might be – the consequences of flaunting health and safety law are not worth taking on. We know the fines are high, but serious cases can come with suspended jail sentences or worse. These laws and regulations act as a massive catch-all to ensure companies are doing their best to protect their employees. That’s why some pretty insane and silly situations occur – simply because a company doesn’t want to get in trouble! It might be more of a case of avoiding sanctions than protecting employees though…

We’ve already discussed the fact that health and safety in the workplace is mainly the responsibility of the employer, but as an employee, you can’t afford to be ignorant. Safety in a role lends itself well to happiness in the role – so if you aren’t safe, you aren’t going to be happy and at the end of the day safety in the workplace is going to center around your actions mostly. You can voice concerns, but you can also do your best to educate yourself about possible dangers in the workplace to ensure you are safe – you should also equip yourself with the right gear to ensure safety in your line of work.

What gear? Well – it depends on your job, but every single role will need certain equipment to ensure not just your safety, but comfort in the role. Discomfort over a sustained period of time can lead to muscular pain and other injuries.

If you’re leading an office role – or your line of work will mainly revolve around sitting down – you need to be comfortable. A bad chair, or terrible arm support will lead to difficulty working and some issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems. Gelled supports and a supportive, mobile office will go a long way to working safely in an office. An office is a safe place to work though. What about if you have a role in construction? You might need the best shoes for walking on concrete to keep your feet safe from cold hard floors, but you might also need steel-toe capped boots to give you grip in mud – and to protect your feet from heavy goods and tools. You’ll need a hi-vis jacket to ensure you can be seen when you are on site to avoid any mishaps that might come via visibility issues. Of course, you’ll need a hard hat to protect your head as well. All of these pieces of equipment go a long way to ensuring your safety in the workplace. There are more specialized pieces of equipment for different roles to ensure workers are safe – electricians will have rubberized gloves and grounding materials to prevent shocks – for example.

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If you want to be happy in a role, you need to be safe and secure – and that means a lot more than being protected from danger – you need to be physically and emotionally comfortable in the role so that you can be productive and feel good. A huge part of this is ensuring that your employer is a responsible employer who fosters a safe, secure and happy workplace – but it’s also on you as well – what will you do each day to ensure that you and your colleagues are safe? Will you raise issues when they need to be raised, will you ensure that your actions go towards making your working life a safer time?

Workplace safety? It falls on your shoulders and the shoulders of your employer. When you are looking for your next role you’ll certainly consider the location of the job – you’ll also be thinking of compensation and of course, you’ll consider career progression – but what about safety. If you’re not safe in a role, can you be happy? Truly? Of course you cannot – meaning safety should be on our minds as we search for a better role in this life!

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
Joey


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