If it’s your first time working for a temporary staffing agency, you may have questions or concerns about safety and risk. For example, what happens if you get injured on the job or if you are involved in an argument? These are valid questions, and it is important that you understand the policy and procedures the staffing agency has in place for these types of situations.
This information should be privy to you and explained during your orientation and onboarding. If you are not given the information you need in advance regarding safety, risk, or how to de-escalate a situation, be sure to reach out to the staffing agency and get your questions answered.
Safety and Risk management
Roughly half of all staffing positions fall under the commercial sector which refers to office/clerical and light industrial work. These are the types of jobs that SURESTAFF specializes in, which may include product assembly, manufacturing, and machine-oriented roles such as operating a forklift. No matter what the job, it behooves the company and yourself to ensure a safe working environment by following risk management and safety guidelines.
Usually, when people get injured on the job its due to an accident caused by someone being careless or not following safety guidelines. This could be as simple as someone not wearing the right safety equipment or not heeding instructions. In a COVID-era, it is also of the utmost importance for employees to understand PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) guidelines while on the job; and when possible, wearing a mask, keeping your distance from others, and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.
Many jobs, especially in the light industrial sector require some PPE, whether shields, gloves, hearing protection, steel-toed boots, or other protection. Make sure you understand what safety equipment is required for your job and be familiar with safety guidelines – such as roping off areas for fork-lift use, using protective guards on machinery, closing or opening doors, or avoiding hazard areas.
If you are involved in an accident, make sure that you contact the staffing agency right away so that they can follow the appropriate procedures to ensure your safety or to provide appropriate treatment. More than likely there will be an accident investigation so that the agency can determine if there was employee negligence, and/or if there are ways that the work situation can be improved. If injured on the job, you may also be eligible for Worker’s Compensation.
Friction and De-Escalation of Situations
When you work in close quarters with individuals from diverse backgrounds, things like race, religion, and education can often be a catalyst for arguments and disagreements. This can of course be a risk and may be amplified with alcohol and drug abuse. No matter how fired up you are, the best advice is to be quiet and walk away from the situation. Whatever you do, DO NOT confront someone or engage in an argument. This will only escalate the situation, and usually, in these cases, everyone associated will be fired or reprimanded.
The following four tips are easy ways that you can de-escalate conflict in the workplace:
- Take a step back: Once a conflict has come to your attention, step away from it. Do not get emotionally involved, and instead try to get work done or read something that will divert your attention. You may even want to try writing down the details of the conflict, because it may help to get things out and on paper.
- Practice empathy: As difficult as it is, try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see the situation from where they are standing, even if they are upset with you. This will help you determine how to best approach the situation.
- Evaluate the implications: Determine if the argument or issue was a one-off incident or if it is a pattern of behavior. It is important to understand the context before getting others involved and problem-solving.
- Take preventive measures: Once a conflict is resolved, take time to reflect on what happened, so that you can prevent it from occurring again. Remain objective and use the conflict as a learning experience for everyone involved.
Remember that your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance to the staffing agency that hired you and to the client you are working for. Communication is always your best resource in any situation where you feel at risk. If you believe that the environment that you are working in is unsafe in any way, physically or emotionally, do not hesitate to speak up. Take control of the situation and be the problem-solver, not the problem-starter.
About the Author
Kim is a seasoned content marketing professional with over twelve years of corporate communications experience. Her sweetspot is with creative writing both short and long-form, and she has a proven track record working with IBM, Jackson Healthcare, and Walt Disney World, among many others. Kim is also a singer and actress and has been performing on stage and screen her entire life and has a great passion for TV and film production. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.