When we think of workplace safety, we usually associate it with blue-collar work. While the risks of working at an industrial plant, shipyard or building site are obvious, office environments also have their fair share of incidents. You may not be required to wear a hardhat or steel-toe boots, but that’s doesn’t mean you can take your safety for granted.
A Moment is All it Takes
A lapse in attention or a moment of carelessness is often all it takes to trigger an incident that could have easily been avoided. Some of the more common accidents in the office include:
- Muscle strains
- Hit by falling objects
- Repetitive strain injury
After the Event
While many of these may seem trivial, they can have a negative effect on health and productivity. One solution is to have a dedicated first aider who can they quickly attend to minor injuries, and even save someone’s life in serious cases. In many countries, having a first aid kit in the office is a legal requirement.
However, before you scramble for the first aid kit, try these five preventative measures to avoid workplace injuries:
1. Prioritise Rest
The effects of stress in the workplace are far-reaching and can prove problematic if left unchecked for too long. More often than not, such cases can be traced back to poor sleeping habits. Constant late hours and excessive device usage puts our minds and body in a hyper-excited state and deprives us of restorative rest.
This leads to fatigue, which is one of the most common reasons for workplace injuries. Be it from lack of sleep or excessive workloads, fatigue plays a significant role in determining situational and personal awareness. Shoot for a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted rest and avoid accumulating a hefty sleep debt.
2. Use Aids if Necessary
If injured, you need to protect the afflicted area. Things like wrist and ankle sprains are pretty minor, but they can lead to dropped objects or falls. Wearing braces or using movement aids is not a sign of weakness; these devices promote recovery while also preventing any exacerbation of existing injuries.
3. Abstain from Drugs and Alcohol
Going out on a bender the night before can easily affect the way you work the next day, even if you’re used to heavy drinking. An altered perception of your physical surroundings can lead to accidents and serious injuries. Certain prescription drugs carry similar side effects. While recovering, and on medication that causes drowsiness, stay at home until you’ve completely recovered.
4. Highlight Safety Hazards
Tangled wires, exposed electrical outlets/wiring and loose fans/floorboards/ceiling panels are things that need to be immediately highlighted to HR upon identification. Aside from the obvious threat to occupational health and safety, these hazards could be indicative of a deeper systemic issue in the building/office.
5. Stay Home if Sick
Illnesses like flu tend to make us feel more tired than usual due to the stress our bodies are under while fighting infection. When you feel like deadweight, your ability to react to your surroundings is thoroughly compromised and it’s better to stay at home to avoid infecting anyone else.
Final Thoughts on Workplace Safety
It’s one thing to clock in all sleepy-eyed after missing your morning coffee fix, but it’s another to be exhausted to the extent where you can’t even pay adequate attention to your surroundings. Accidents in the office are more common than you think, and a small error can easily snowball into something much worse causing injury to yourself or others. So take the precautions above, remain vigilant and stay safe at work!
This October is National Safe Work Month in Australia. To find out more about this excellent initiative, visit the Safe Work Australia website.
To discuss how to combat fatigue within your workforce contact the WellteQ team.