“It’s my employer’s responsibility to keep me safe at work!” - but is it?
Whilst it is agreed that you have the right to work in places where all the risks to your health and safety are properly controlled, we thought you may find it useful to understand that each of us, as an employee, has responsibilities too.
Take care of your own health and safety and that of people who may be affected by what you do (or do not do);
Co-operate with others on health and safety, and not interfere with, or misuse, anything provided for your health, safety or welfare;
Follow the training you have received when using any work items your employer has given you.
It can be difficult to predict or avoid some health problems, but there are many small things that you can do to help you to stay safe and healthy at work.
10 tips to help you to stay safe and healthy!
1. Teach yourself about your role’s risks
I am sure that each professional employer will provide training in relation to your safety at work, but if you can always be conscious of your environment and conscious of any new or strange risks that present themselves. You should never take a chance!
2. Use safety equipment
Safety equipment can keep you from getting hurt and may even save your life. It only takes a second to put on safety glasses, gloves, or other equipment. Always wear a hard hat or helmet when doing anything that could result in an injury to your head. Brain injuries can kill or cause long-term damage and incapacity.
3. Comfortable Computing
Organise your work area and set up your workstation so your work movements involve less effort, by doing this you will be less likely to get an injury. Remember to adjust the height of your chair and set your computer monitor at the correct height.
4. Let’s keep your back healthy!
If you are required to carry out any manual handling within your role you should remember that when lifting or moving any heavy objects you should keep your back straight and allow your legs to do the lifting.
One of the biggest risks to your back is not sitting correctly. If you don’t sit correctly you run the risk of serious back and neck injuries. Always sit with your shoulders and hips aligned to reduce pressure on your back, this will reduce the chance of an injury.
5. Your eyes need a coffee break too!
Office work demands that many of us sit at a computer for much of our day. You should remember that your eyes need regular breaks to keep them in good condition.
- You should aim to look away from your screen regularly and take breaks completely away from your desk.
- Look into the distance, or at objects of varying distances, every ten minutes to rest the muscles of the eye.
- Ensure that you have an eye assessment at least every two years.
Make a coffee for the team! Your eyes and your colleagues will appreciate it!
6. Damage to ears at work is often preventable, but when it occurs it can be irreversible!
Many of us are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work. Noise-induced hearing loss or industrial deafness is caused by the intensity of sound levels and the length of exposure and is common in manufacturing and construction. We recommend that you follow the following steps:
- Ensure that your hearing protection equipment fits correctly.
- Be aware of high noise levels and avoid them when possible. If you can’t hear someone who is within three feet of you then the noise is too loud.
- Have regular hearing tests.
- Speak to your manager if you are concerned about the noise levels.
7. Know what to do when there is an emergency
Safety drills are practised to help each of us to stay safe should an emergency happen. Learn when the fire alarm is regularly tested so that you know when it sounds at a different time, then it is not a drill! Familiarise yourself with the nearest emergency exits and know where the assembly point is. When a drill is scheduled, take it seriously and give it your full attention. It could save your life at some stage!
8. Avoid talking on your mobile phone when driving
Research has revealed that even a hands-free model may distract you and make you more like to have an accident. The roads are so congested nowadays it is imperative to be alert to your surroundings.
9. Avoid work travel hazards – we don’t want you to age prematurely!
Many of us travel for work each week. Regular travel can affect your diet, sleep and even your hydration. In short, travelling can make it more difficult to make healthy lifestyle choices which can affect your blood pressure and cholesterol levels among other things – leading to an increased risk of chronic disease and premature ageing. When you are away the best solution is to stick to your normal routines as much as possible.
- Maintain your sleeping habits
- As soon as you board your plane, start drinking water and avoid excessive amounts of alcohol
- Eat a similar breakfast every day
- Exercise every day
- Don’t work every night
10. Make some lifestyle changes
Making good choices every day may be the best way to stay healthy. It’s not easy to make changes to your everyday life, but if you aim to change one thing at a time, you will get there. Set yourself an achievable goal that you know that you can reach, then when you reach that goal, treat yourself and set the next goal too. We’ve listed some key areas for you to focus on and we’ve indicated some useful links to some great information from the NHS too:
- Regular exercise - Click Here
- Giving up smoking - Click Here
- Reduce your exposure to stress - Click Here
- Keeping to a healthy weight – Click Here
- Drink less alcohol - Click Here
You spend a lot of time at work. Many of us spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families and friends! It’s important that we all make our health and safety a riority whilst we are working! Stay safe!