The workplace can be dangerous. Around 2.3 million people worldwide have work-related accidents each year, and it doesn’t matter what industry you are in. You are just as likely to put out your back from sitting at a desk as you are to injure yourself with heavy machinery.
So what can you do to keep yourself safe at work? Here are some top tips for looking after your health while doing your job, so you can avoid nasty injuries and be as productive as possible.
Identify the risks
The best way to avoid accidents at work is to ensure you are aware of any potential risks. If you work in a factory, you should be able to identify any possible dangers related to using machinery or handling chemicals. Whereas if you have an office job, it’s wise to be attuned to the risks of poor posture and vision problems caused by screens.
The most common reason for people taking time off work is stress, and if you work in a high-pressure environment then you are at risk. Stress, perhaps due to excessive workloads or unreasonable expectations, can lead workers to succumb to total burnout. To avoid this, have a conversation with your boss about managing your workload and taking steps to improve your work/life balance. Some companies are notorious for expecting employees to work late and take minimal breaks, which is without a doubt going to have a negative impact on their mental health. Look after yourself, and remember that work is not everything.
Take plenty of breaks
It is when you are overworked that accidents are more likely to happen. If you’ve been working all night without a break, you could be so fatigued and distracted that you accidentally cause a nasty injury to yourself or someone else. Make sure you are well rested before you come to work, and take regular breaks throughout the day to consume food, drink water, and recharge your batteries.
Maintain good posture
Humans did not evolve to sit at a desk all day, and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are playing havoc on our bodies. Sitting down for 40+ hours a week can lead to a range of musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain, so it’s essential that you adopt good posture. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor and your computer at eye level, to put less pressure on your neck and back. Make you stand up and walk around every so often to keep your body moving. You may wish to ask your boss to invest in ergonomic desk chairs that can help correct posture.
Get proper training
If you are required to use complex machinery, you should make sure you have been properly trained to do so. Otherwise, you risk handling the equipment incorrectly and harming yourself. You should also request full personal protective equipment like hard hats, work gloves, and eye protectors if you have not been given them.
The same goes if you regularly have to lift heavy objects for your job. A manual handling training course will instruct you on the safest technique for lifting items without damaging your spine.
Remove trip hazards
A cluttered office is a dangerous office. If the fire alarm goes off and there are chairs and cardboard boxes blocking the emergency exit, this could be a recipe for disaster. Keep your workspace clear of mess and move any trip hazards out of the way.
Report any dangers
If you notice something that is a cause for concern, you should not feel embarrassed to speak up and report it to your boss. Perhaps one of your fellow colleagues is using tools in a dangerous manner, or you have spotted a loose step that could result in a fall. Pointing this out to a senior member of staff will hopefully ensure the problem is fixed and danger is averted.
Comply with safety policies
Most workplaces will have documents outlining risk assessments and best practices for maintaining safety at work. These will usually be part of the small print of your employment contract, so rather than skimming through them as most people do, it’s worth taking the time to read them properly. Adhering to these safety policies will help you look after your personal safety and well-being while carrying out your job.
If you have been injured at work in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation. There are several legal services that can help you file a personal injury case.