Whatever your work environment is, it’s important to stay safe at work. All kinds of workplaces have hazards, whether it’s the poor posture from a bad desk set-up or an obviously dangerous place like a building site. If you’re concerned about an unsafe work environment, then follow these tips.
Remember that if you injured due to an unsafe working environment, you may be entitled to workers compensation.
- Understand the risks. The person who bests knows the risks of your job is you. Understand the risks involved with your daily work activities, and see what steps you could take to reduce them. This could be something like wearing correct safety gear, or just readjusting your desk.
- Reduce workplace stress. Stress at work can be caused by all kinds of work issues, like long working hours, a heavy workload, a feeling of job insecurity, or conflicts with a boss or co-workers. Stress can lead to other problems like sleep loss, concentration difficulties, or even depression. If your job is making you stressed, find ways to manage the problem, such as asking for more support, delegating tasks or working from home more often.
- Take regular breaks. If you alert at work, you’re much less likely to get injured while going about your day. If you can, schedule more challenging tasks for a time of day when you tend to feel the most alert. This is especially useful for physical tasks where you need to be alert. For better results, maintain your alertness by taking regular breaks. At a minimum, you should take a lunch break in order to come back for the second half of the workday feeling refreshed and recharged.
- Avoid stooping or twisting. Moving in natural ways, such as bending to pick up boxes, or sitting at an uncomfortable angle at your desk. Where possible, use furniture that is ergonomically designed in order to better support you, and arrange your work area so that everything you need is within easy reach of your chair.
- Whenever possible, use mechanical aids. Don’t put yourself under strain when you don’t need to, and instead use mechanical aids to help you. This could mean using things like wheelbarrows, conveyor belts, cranes or forklifts to help you with heavy items instead of trying to carry them yourself.
- Protect your back. If you do need to pick up or carry heavy items with any kind of aid, make sure you lift them correctly in order to protect your back. Lift with your thigh muscles, not your back, and keep the load close to your body in order to support it properly.
- Wear protective equipment to suit the task you’re doing. If worn correctly, safety gear like earplugs, earmuffs, safety goggles, hard hats, gloves, or masks can really reduce your risk of injury. If you work with dangerous materials, handle rough materials or work in dusty areas, make sure to wear appropriate safety equipment to make you safe. Your employer should provide suitable equipment for this purpose.