It’s common for people in offices to roll their eyes at the mention of health and safety at work. But even though these precautions make it less likely, accidents at work are still shockingly commonly. Being injured or falling ill due to working conditions is no laughing matter, so you might find yourself wondering how safe you are at work. Here are some pointers to ensure you stay safe and healthy when you’re working a desk job.
Health and safety aren’t just about trip hazards and falls. Staying healthy in the workplace is just as important as keeping safe. That’s why you should take the time to assess your working situation and how it might affect your health. In most workplaces, there should already be healthy and safety policies in place that set out guidelines for things like desk and chair position, computer screen safety, and the number of breaks you’re entitled to. Following these precautions can help prevent repetitive strain injuries, for example, carpal tunnel from typing in a suboptimal position.
Your workplace might even offer vouchers for eye tests, to counteract the strain your eyes are under using a computer. They may also provide access to occupational therapy or physical therapy. Check the policies or benefits agreements at your place of work, or speak to HR to see what is on offer.
Another benefit your office might offer is discounted gym membership, or they might make it easier for you to cycle to work by installing a shower and bike racks. This is because physical activity is vital to our health, but we’re not getting enough of it. Sitting for long periods is incredibly dangerous for our health since it can cause obesity and a range of associated conditions, not to mention poor posture and back pain. Standing desks are becoming increasingly popular, so it might be worth asking your employer if they are willing to invest in one. This not only supports your health. It’s in the employer’s interests to have happy, healthy, and productive staff, so it might be worth asking.
Your workplace needs to protect your safety and give you the tools and training you need to stay safe. But it’s your responsibility to use these tools and to report any issues or concerns you have about safety at work.
If part of your job involves heavy lifting, it’s imperative that you learn how to lift safely, to protect your back. Back pain can last a lifetime, so protect yourself as much as you can. You might spend part of your day in a warehouse, or reaching up to shelves or storage. You’ll need the proper equipment to keep you safe. Many people are tempted to use a chair or table just quickly to reach up and grab something, but a slip can have life-altering consequences. Warehouse steps reduce accidents, so make sure there are some proper steps in your office.
You should also understand the policies relating to handling any dangerous goods in your workplace, which might involve sharp objects, flammable materials, or even bodily fluids, depending on where you work! It’s essential to understand the fire and emergency evacuation plans too, so you know how to act in an emergency. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep safe at work, although your workplace must make it as simple as possible for you.