Some industries, like construction and mining, have higher injury rates than others. However, even working in an office doesn’t guarantee an accident-free career. Here is some advice on how to avoid the most common workplace injuries:
- Back Pain and Body Strains
Staying in one position for hours at a time, incorrectly carrying heavy loads, or overextending your limbs can damage your body. In fact, the most commonly recorded workplace injury is back pain.
To prevent multiple trips to the doctor, follow these tips:
- Take regular breaks from staying in the same position. Rather than sitting down all day, stand up and take a short walk to the water cooler and back occasionally. If you have been standing still, try stretching to relieve your back muscles.
- Maintain good posture when standing or sitting.
- If you can, invest in an ergonomic chair or an adjustable standing desk.
- Organise the things you commonly use so that they are within arms’ reach. Otherwise, position yourself a little closer to the object you’re grabbing.
- Don’t bend forward to carry something heavy. Instead, you should start by squatting and grabbing hold of the item. You can then slowly move into a standing position while keeping your back straight. Walk carefully and only set the load down by squatting again.
- Ask for help if the object is too heavy.
- Tripping, Slipping, and Falling
Thousands of injuries happen annually because of slips, trips, and falls. To prevent these accidents, be sure to do the following:
- Place signs such as “caution: wet floor” in accident-prone areas.
- Wear appropriate footwear.
- Secure and put away items that are not in use. Not only will this make your workplace tidier, it will also prevent people from tripping or having something fall on them.
- Avoid forming towers of stacked things or overstuffing shelves. These items are just waiting to fall on someone.
- Don’t work in an area that’s high above the ground without proper safety equipment.
- Accidents Involving Vehicles and Equipment
Cars, trucks, and heavy machinery have improved working conditions for many. However, these powerful objects can also cause injury and even fatalities. Keep safe by practicing these safety measures:
- Attend a safe driving course suitable for your vehicle.
- Make sure the equipment you’re using is regularly tested.
- Avoid driving/working while drowsy.
- Stay within protective barriers.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewellery around the machines. These items might get caught.
- Wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and earplugs. Also make sure to use safety equipment such as seatbelts when applicable.
- Stress and Mental Illness
Occasionally, you may have to work overtime in order to meet a deadline. Or you might become involved in a bit of office politics. If you’re constantly stressed or dealing too many personal and professional issues, your mental health could be at risk. When you’re ready, there are a number of steps you can take to keep the stress at bay. These steps include:
- Inform your boss and/or HR manager of your mental and emotional needs. Doing so will better equip them to support you. They must do so without discrimination and while protecting your privacy.
- Talk to a loved one and/or a trained counsellor about the issues you’re dealing with at work. They can offer you support and a safe space for insight and healing.
Even when you follow all these tips, accidents can still happen. If you ever get injured at work, there are legal resources that can help you. Organisations such as Personal Injury Helpline specialise in workplace injuries, so you find out how to be appropriately compensated. Rather than trying to deal with the fallout of the accident on your own, always seek legal advice.