Unless your job is a stunt driver or shark diver, you probably feel pretty safe when you go to work each day. Most jobs present little risk to employees. However, in every job, the possibility of injury does exist. A few simple tips can keep you safe at work, no matter what you do.
1. Know the Risks: You may not realize that your job site poses hazards to your health. Ask your boss or supervisor for a detailed explanation of any possible risks. Some risks may include cleaning chemicals, fire hazards, machinery or equipment, sharp tools, exposure to uncommon illnesses, tripping hazards, unfamiliar offsite locations, or people you may encounter who might pose a threat. Do not downplay possible hazards. Always be alert.
2. Dress for Success: Most companies have a dress code that can help you determine what to wear at work. Dress appropriately but avoid loose flowing clothing that could get stuck in machinery, elevators, or doorways. Keep long hair tied back and out of your face. Wear sturdy shoes, preferably with closed toes, to avoid injury if a heavy object falls off a desk or shelf. If your job requires safety gear, helmet, or protective eyewear, always suit up. Never neglect protective clothing.
3. Watch Your Back: A majority of work-related injuries involve the back or spine. When you are lifting a box of files or a heavy piece of equipment, always use your legs. Don’t bend over an object. Instead, squat down and push yourself back up. Sitting at a desk or computer terminal all day can give you back pain as well. Try to make your sitting environment as ergonomic as possible. You can get a special chair or chair pad that will take stress off your body. You can also get ergonomic keyboard and mouse for your computer. Take frequent breaks and get up and move. Instead of a call or e-mail, walk down the hall to ask your co-worker a question and give your body a good stretch.
4. Eat Right: It can be easy to fall into a vending machine slump. However, neglecting your nutrition can lead to health problems at work. If you don’t get the right balance of food, you may be weak, distracted, or un-well at work. This could lead to physical injury, if you are less careful than usual, or illness due to weakened immune system. Make an effort to have healthy foods at work. Stock the staff fridge and kitchen with veggie sticks, yogurt, granola bars, or your favorite leftovers from a healthy dinner the night before. Don’t neglect your health at work.
5. Encourage Communication: Every place of employment should have reading material available to you about how to prevent injury at your particular worksite, what to do if injury does occur, and your rights as an injured employee. Feel free to ask for clarification on any of these subjects. Encourage your co-workers to look out for one another and warn of any potential hazards on the job each day. Finally, drills for fire, storms, and other job specific emergencies should be practiced monthly. Each employee should be aware of the safety procedures in any type of emergency.
For more information on your health and safety, feel free to contact Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. Visit us online or call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5119 for physician referrals and health information.