The only real way to avoid hazards at work is to protect yourself from them in the first place. The last thing you want or need is to be injured on the job to the point where you are no longer able to work – and have to miss time and pay due to your injury.
You can avoid the hassles of dealing of dealing with a job-related injury by following a few simple common rules to keep yourself safe in the work place.
Wear Proper Footwear
Depending on the job you have, your work place may be a potential hazard depending on the kinds of shoes that you wear.
In general, choose footwear that has no-slip soles to avoid accidental slips and falls. This is especially important if you work in a place like a restaurant or bakery, where you never really know what might be on the floors around you that could be hazardous, but the same is true even for an office job. Coffee or water may unknowingly spill and you could end up catching that one bad step in the puddle that causes you to fall and injure yourself.
Proper footwear becomes increasingly important in jobs that require any sort of heavy lifting or manual labor. Heavy objects could be dropped on unprotected feet and toes to cause injury or if there are piles of cords and cables, it might be easy to trip in the wrong kind of shoes.
Try to look for work shoes that are non-slip and offer some extra form of protection for your toes, just in case an accidental object ever gets dropped on your feet – no matter your work setting.
Use Correct Lifting Techniques
If you work at a job that does require any sort of heavy lifting or manual labor, you probably know just how easy it is to injure yourself by lifting an object incorrectly. Even if you work at a desk job, knowing how to properly lift objects and heavy items can significantly reduce your risk of being injured on the job.
Always lift from your knees. It’s an old, tried and true tip that really keeps you safe. Don’t bend straight over at the waist to lift something that’s heavy. Squat down next to it and lift from there.
Back injuries are common in work settings that require lifting of any sort – so avoid them by knowing how to properly lift the items that you are working with. Pay close attention to your knees, too, when lifting – although you do want to use them to lift most of the weight, make sure you are not injuring your knees to save your back. You should lift from a comfortable, doable position, and if something is too heavy for you, do not hesitate to ask for help.
If you work in an office setting, be aware of how many people work around you. Hallways and stairwells can get crowded, and turning a corner too quickly can easily result in collisions and falls that could lead to more serious injuries.
Keep your desk and work area neat and tidy, making sure that cords are organized and tucked away to avoid tripping hazards and keep pencils and scissors stored with the sharp points facing downward.
If your desk chair has wheels on it, make sure you know what is around you before pushing back away from your desk too quickly. This will help you avoid any accidental collisions. Know your environment, know who is around you at all times and you’ll have a much easier time staying safe at work.
Taking frequent, short breaks throughout the work day will not only give you a chance to sort of clear your mind, but it will give your muscles a much-needed break. Too much repetition of the same motion, like using a mouse of keyboard, can lead to serious injuries down the road.
Take a break to stand up and stretch to avoid these repetitive motion injuries. Also, the more active your lifestyle is, the less likely you will be to develop these sorts of conditions. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times per week. Keeping your body healthy overall will go a long way in preventing injuries at your office.
Know Your Office’s Safety Procedures
Knowing your office’s evacuation plans in the case of an emergency can go a long way in helping you stay safe at the work place.
Review the fire escape route the day you start your job, and continue to remind yourself of it throughout your time with the company. Familiarize yourself with the procedures for the cases of potential tornadoes, earthquakes or lock down situations.
If you have any questions or concerns on your office’s emergency procedures, talk to someone who has been there longer than you and has more experience with the office safety rules.
If you see any hazards around the office, don’t be afraid to point them out to a manager or superior. The same is true if you notice an injured worker.
Any injury that happens while at work is considered a serious one – whether it is something small like a minor burn or cut or something major like a fracture, sprain or strain. Every work place injury should be reported to management immediately.
Should you ever suffer an injury at work, know who to turn to for the best help and advice when it comes to workers’ compensation and social security and disability laws. If you are injured in the work place, you have several legal rights, and knowing the right people to contact can make a world of difference in a workman’s comp case that you choose to fight.
Keeping yourself safe at work can prove to have major long-term benefits for your overall health and well-being, so know how to protect yourself and your co-workers in any and every situation that may arise. Work to prevent accidents before they actually happen and you’ll have a healthy and safe work experience.