The team here at ReNu Insurance Group cares about your safety! Workplace safety is something that should concern all of us. We want to provide some tips so everyone can do their best to stay safe at work!
While we recommend that office environment businesses invest in ergonomic evaluations for employees and their work stations, we recognize that small employers may not have the required resources. You need to hire a qualified professional to perform the evaluations, plus buy equipment, such as adjustable height desks or portable headsets, to make any changes the evaluator recommends. Even if that isn’t in your company’s budget right now, there are a few simple, free steps you can take to reduce the chance of suffering carpal tunnel, neck strains, and other injuries common to those working in office environments.
- Stand up once in a while. Getting up every couple of hours for a few minutes to stretch will help reduce joint stiffness associated with sitting for extended periods of time. This doesn’t necessarily have to take you away from working. If you’re on the phone with a long-winded customer, get up and stretch while you’re talking to them!
- Keep your phone close by. Having to reach for your phone several times a day could lead to arm or back issues if your phone is too far away. Cord length permitting, be sure it’s close enough to you so you aren’t reaching and bending your back to pick it up. Try to use your headset as much as possible if you have one.
- Keep correct posture. Try to keep your shoulders and hips in a straight line. For the slouchers among us this can be a challenge, but doing your best to keep your back straight will prevent issues down the road.
- Be sure your elbows are positioned correctly. Your shoulder, to your elbow, to your hand should be close to a 90 degree angle. Try adjusting your chair if it seems like you are reaching up or down to type.
- Ensure your screen is at the right level. You could be putting stress on your neck if your computer screen is not exactly at eye level. If you are currently having to look slightly up, try adjusting your chair to a higher setting. If you have to look slightly down, try either adjusting your chair or stacking some books or reams of paper under your screen.
The hazards are much different when you work in a labor intensive environment rather than in an office. If you work with machinery, you have to think not just about your own safety, but also the security of your coworkers. Here are a few helpful tips so you can do your best to keep yourself and your colleagues as safe as possible.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes we can be so focused on what we’re doing that we aren’t aware of what’s going on around us. It only takes a few seconds to look around and catch any safety hazards that may be in your area.
- Take regular breaks. Many workplace injuries occur because an employee is tired and distracted. Taking breaks will help you keep alert. Also, adjusting the timing of your duties can help you stay fresh. For instance (providing your supervisor allows it), getting a difficult job you know will require a lot of concentration either out of the way first thing, or doing part of it at one time and coming back to it later, will help you not get burned out as quickly.
- Follow directions. Even if the established way of doing something seems inefficient, like having two people carry a box you could manage alone, remember the safety procedures are in place for a reason—to protect you. At least in this instance, don’t be a hero!
- Don’t cut corners. You may have some ideas about improving efficiency by taking a shortcut, for example using a different tool for a job. Make sure you don’t enact your new procedure before running it by your supervisor. It could certainly be a great idea which leads to an update in company policy, but it may be the case that the policy is to use the other tool since it’s safer to do so, even if it makes the job take longer.
- Speak up! If you see someone doing something that doesn’t comply with your company’s safety regulations, speak up about it. If you work with potentially dangerous equipment, they could be putting both themselves and their coworkers at risk.
While there is nothing we can do to prevent 100% of all workplace injuries, taking the above precautions and following all of your company’s safety procedures will greatly reduce the chance that you will suffer an injury at work. Stay safe out there!