Unsafe working conditions are conditions that are hazardous to any worker. These conditions can prevent workers from properly executing their job tasks and pose a risk to their health and safety.

Discussion Points:
• What are some examples of unsafe conditions that can be found in your workplace?
• How can you protect yourself from unsafe working conditions?
• What should a worker do if there is a hazardous situation at work?
• What is the process for reporting hazardous working conditions?

Examples of unsafe conditions or behaviors include Improper use of a tool or use of defective equipment, lack of machine guarding, operating equipment without authorization, working or operating equipment too fast, riding equipment not designed for passengers, walking under a suspended load, taking shortcuts, poor equipment maintenance, lack of or failure to wear proper personal protective equipment, careless handling of materials, horseplay, poor housekeeping, failure to install warning systems, and inadequate training.

A work-related injury can be the result of an unsafe condition, an unsafe act, or a combination of both. When multiple factors are present, the risk of an incident resulting in injury increases; unsafe behaviors can make unsafe conditions worse. An example would be driving in inclement weather, the condition alone is unsafe, but when you alter the condition with human behavior, such as driving too fast for the conditions, the risk of danger increases the chance of an accident resulting in serious injury or death.

If the worker encounters unsafe working conditions, they should tell their supervisor immediately. If the situation is not addressed, it may be necessary to report it to management. The employer’s failure to identify or correct unsafe conditions may result in the filing of a report with OSHA. Unfortunately, many employers fail to prevent or address hazards and do not follow safety procedures or protocols, resulting in injury or death. OSHA enforces many regulations to alleviate the potential for serious injury. When an employer fails to follow the regulations and standards, they are not providing a safe working environment for their workers. More than 100,000 workers are disabled or lose their life as a result of workplace hazards annually. It is possible to eliminate most workplace hazards and prevent work-related injury. Recognizing unsafe conditions or acts is everyone’s responsibility.

As always, be safe out there!