Feel Like You’re in a House of Cards? 4 Things You Can Do if You Feel Unsafe in Your Work Environment

Written By Alla Levin
February 01, 2023

The fact is that we may encounter a lot of working environments that make us feel physically or psychologically unsafe. There are workplace injuries that are all too common and we may believe that we’ve got to put up with these things, as they are just a part of the working environment. But if you ever feel unsafe at work, either in a physical or psychological sense, it’s important to have some of the following tactics in mind.

Understand Where You Are Legally

You can refuse to do unsafe work if you have reasonable grounds to believe that the work is going to harm you or somebody else, which means you have an “honest belief” that this work is dangerous. You don’t need to be 100% certain and it doesn’t matter if somebody disagrees with you, but you may find yourself in hot water with the people in charge, however, this is where you can learn how a workers’ compensation lawyer may assist you if you believe you are going to be unfairly penalized for it. Having an understanding of the legalities is a good place to begin because it gives you a solid foundation.

Understand You’re Not Alone

When we are in a working situation that we feel is unsafe, we may believe that we’re the only ones dealing with it and if we feel that we are not able to share our opinions because it’s a very repressive culture, it’s very likely that you are not alone. If you notice someone else displaying a sense of unease, possibly in a meeting, or you see a colleague being reprimanded by the boss for no reason, it may be beneficial for you to reach out to that person. Building trust is an essential component here because it’s very likely that their experiences are similar to yours and you can have each other’s back.

Try to Control What You Can

This is critical because you may feel like you need to be a Serpico and completely alter the fabric of the working environment, but the reality of the situation is that you may not be able to make much in the way of significant alterations to your working environment. What you can do is learn to control your environment based on your reactions. You can learn how to keep calm or set a better example. It can all be very frustrating, but when you have the opportunity to control the things you really do have control over, this will go a long way to make you feel better about everything.

Approaching the Manager

This can be a very tricky situation here. A good manager will do what they can to change an unsafe environment. However, if there is a toxic culture within the business, the manager will not necessarily do the things that are critical to their role. You need to approach the line manager or boss, but also make sure that you document everything. This may be the key to helping you build a case against the organization in the future.

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