Starting a new job can be an overwhelming task. You might have many questions during your first few days, or maybe even your first few weeks. You may ask yourself questions like, how do I start a conversation with my new coworker? Where is the coffee maker and utensils? How can I make the best first impression with my manager/boss? However, there is an even more important question you should ask yourself when beginning a new job, and it’s one that is overlooked every time.
Are there any warning signs that my new workplace is unsafe or can become unsafe?
If your workplace is in fact unsafe, it could result in a serious injury, missed time from work, high medical bills, and complex workers’ compensation disputes. While accidents can happen anywhere, here are four warning signs of an unsafe workplace that you should always look out for when considering a new job.
- Frequent Injuries or Illnesses
You should also look out for changes to your health when you start a new job. If you experience changes, like an increase in allergies or shortness of breath when working, it may be a sign that something is unsafe in your workplace environment. Similarly, if you notice that coworkers are frequently ill or injured, it could also mean that your employer is not doing enough to keep you and your fellow workers safe.
- Poor Employee Screening
Your fellow workers are a very important aspect, especially in jobs that involve high-risks or heavy equipment, such as construction. Even if your environment is safe, coworkers who are reckless, negligent, or downright violent can always present a danger to you and others around you. There is a way employers can avoid dangerous employees and that is by carefully screening all applicants and potential employees. It’s important to check their references to make sure that they are experienced, responsible, and most importantly, credible. If an employer does not do proper employee screening, it may be a warning sign of a dangerous workplace from the start. Always proceed with caution.
- Lack of Communication
When an employer has improper communication with their employees, it can lead to workplace injuries. It may sound silly that bad communication can cause injuries, but it does occur. An example of this could be if an employer is not clear about what kind of safety equipment must be used during certain tasks. This could lead to a serious accident or injury. Employers should also clearly communicate their policies on things like workers’ compensation, workplace harassment, and any other important office protocol. Adequate communication ensures that everyone stays safe and informed, while a workplace with inadequate communication could lead to accidents or mistakes.
- Lack of Rules or Safety Procedures
While it may be great to have an employer who doesn’t “enforce the rules,” it can cause big issues when it comes to workplace safety and workers’ compensation. If an employer does not have clear rules and bottom lines about safety procedures, it may be a sign of an unsafe workplace. Employers should display clear, accessible signs or warnings, especially when it comes to dangerous equipment or conditions, and they should ALWAYS have a handbook that goes over all of their safety procedures.
Be sure to always know where you are working, and who you are working for. Do your research and gain knowledge about your company’s/industry’s rules and safety procedures. In turn, this will keep you safe and you can go to work knowing you are coming home safe at the end of the day!