Workplace safety needs to be more than just the annual safety meeting where everyone runs through the organization’s procedures and nominates leads. Safety is a mindset, and it is the responsibility of every employee to develop the skills and awareness needed to contribute to a safer work environment as well as protect their personal safety. In order to decrease potential hazards and injury at work, there are a few things that you can do to make good safety practices a habit.

Being in the same work space every day can foster a sense of predictability, but it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings. Be alert to anything that isn’t as it should be, including equipment that hasn’t been put away or a suspicious person on the premises. Potential hazards that are successfully identified and reported early can be life saving.

Good communication between employees and management about safety requirements is also important. Setting very clear guidelines on how to deal with any issues that arise is also essential in the workplace. Immediately report and document any unsafe conditions, potential equipment faults, or other concerns as per the work guidelines.

As an employee, looking after your own health can also help prevent injury at work, though this doesn’t always come to mind when we think about workplace safety. Make sure that you’re taking regular breaks and managing your stress effectively. If you don’t, a simple lapse in concentration can be deadly when you’re dealing with large equipment. A lack of breaks might also lower your ability to stay alert.  Being aware of your posture, especially when spending extended periods of time at a desk or when lifting and carrying things, is helpful to prevent back injury and muscle strains.

While it’s obviously a poor career move to be at work if you’re not sober, it’s important to remember that some prescription medication can create the same problems as alcohol. If you’re taking any kind of antihistamine, pain killer or muscle relaxant, make sure you’ve read the warnings carefully. Many advise that you don’t operate heavy machinery or drive while using them.

Safety in the workplace doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does require thought and a commitment from all employees to make safety a personal responsibility. That commitment may save lives.