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Misconceptions About Industrial Safety and Hygiene that Workers Should Forget About Right Away 

Since many of us spend a large percentage of our time at work – on average around 40 hours a week for the average South African – it is necessary that we feel secure and safe in our work environment. Whether you clock in at the office, a construction site, or a retail store, there is a good chance you are surrounded by potential hazard zones.

While some of these hazards might be obvious, others are less so and may slip below the radar. As an employee, industrial safety and hygiene are your responsibility too. Many of us have dangerous misconceptions about health and safety in the workplace. While the employer carries a large portion of the responsibility of keeping you safe and healthy while on the job, the responsibility does not end with your employer. Here are a few misconceptions you need to be disabused of in order to remain safer while on the job:

“Nothing Bad Will Happen to Me While I am at Work”

Wrong! If you think you are out of harm’s way while on the job, think again. Here are a few alarming statistics on workplace safety:

  • According to former Minister of Public Works, Thulas Nxesi, two construction workers are killed every week.
  • Across the European Union, one employee in five faces an occupational cancer risk.

Rather than becoming another statistic, take it upon yourself to make sure you stay abreast of the latest industrial hygiene protocols in your workplace. Do not let what you do not know end up hurting you.

“Safety is Only My Employer’s Responsibility, Not Mine”

False. Your employers carry the majority of the burden to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. They need to keep a well-maintained and safe workplace, provide information on hazards, and equip you with proper safety equipment, training, and competent supervision. However, employers can only go that far in protecting employees from danger and hazards. Workers also play an integral role in their own safety. It is still up to you to report unsafe conditions, stay up to date with your employers regarding occupational and industrial safety and hygiene, and to use the required safety equipment and wear the correct safety gear while on the job.

“If I Work in an Office, I Cannot Get Injured”

That is definitely untrue. Working in an office environment places stress both on the body and mind. Working indoors in a seated position for the majority of the day can lead to repetitive strain injuries, including vision strain, back and neck pain, as well as pain in the hands and wrists. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in the US, office employees are two to 2,5 times likelier to suffer a disabling injury from a fall than non-office workers. These are sobering statistics.

We provide expert industrial occupational and hygiene solutions to businesses throughout South Africa. Our team brings decades of experience to the industry, and we remain passionate about keeping our clients’ workplaces safe and hazard-free. Contact us to learn more about what we do, and how we can help you keep your workspace safer too.