Most of us go to work feeling perfectly safe. We don’t expect to have an accident on the job, and for that reason we might not be as prepared as we should be. The truth is that many accidents occur on worksite premises. That is why we all need to know what to do to avoid hazards as well as what to do if an accident occurs.

Read the safety manual

Every company should have a safety manual that explains all the potential hazards, from chemicals to equipment. Employees should not only know about the manual, but they should have read it. Some organizations require employees to pass a quiz on their safety materials to ensure everyone knows the basic policies and protocols. If your company doesn’t have readily available safety information, ask HR about it and encourage the company to distribute copies to all employees or all departments so everyone knows where to find it. They should also make sure employees read and understand the safety guidelines.

Take appropriate precautions

Always wear the designated safety gear, for example, hard hats or steel-toe boots, of whatever is required on the job. Precautions may include operating machinery more slowly around other workers to help prevent accidents. If training is required to perform certain job duties, the training should be completed before taking on that job. Follow the rules and add a few of your own as needed to avoid accidents and injuries.

Know and practice first aid techniques

A first aid kit with antibiotic cream, bandages, and similar supplies should be available in an accessible area of the company or in each department if the facility is large. The kit should be up-to-date with non-expired products, and everyone should know how to use them. Printed instructions should be posted with the kit. More complex procedures, like a defibrillator in case of a heart-related crisis, should be taught by a professional and posted where everyone can easily find it.

Become familiar with emergency procedures

To emphasize safety in the workspace, information about who to call should be posted in languages that every employee understands. Contact information should be included. For emergencies, simply dialing 9-1-1 is probably best, especially if the person is having trouble breathing or moving, is bleeding significantly, or in great pain. When in doubt, call 9-1-1 and the dispatcher can help to decide the next steps.

Be prepared for possible emergencies to minimize the risk and maximize appropriate care.