Five Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from Work Injuries
Employers have steps in place to keep their employees safe, but did you know there are preventative measures you can take, too?
By being proactive, you can significantly decrease your risk of an accident and long-term illness at work.
What can happen if you do not take care of your body
Not taking care of your body leaves you at an increased risk for debilitating joint, bone, and spinal conditions including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Neck and back pain
- Strains, sprains, and fractures
- Frozen shoulder
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Inflammatory diseases
We are not here to instill fear, simply to share the reality of what can happen when your body is last on the list for care.
Keep reading to learn five easy ways you can keep yourself safe and promote health.
1. Stretch it out
There are multiple benefits of stretching including reducing muscle tension, relieving stress, increasing productivity, and improving posture.
Dedicate at least ten (10) minutes to stretching your muscles and joints. This will boost your physical performance and decrease your chance of sustaining an injury or muscle strain by making tasks easier on your body.
Here are some easy stretches you can do at work:
- Bicep stretches
- Standing lunges
- Shoulder rolls
- Thumb stretches
- Toe touches
2. Practice proper techniques
Whether you are lifting a 15-pound box of office supplies or a 50-pound box of tools, proper lifting techniques are an important practice for anyone.
To protect yourself from causing a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD), you need to minimize the strain put on your body when lifting.
Improper lifting techniques can cause neck, shoulder, and back pain.
To safely lift heavy items, it is important to use your leg muscles as opposed to your back to avoid straining the spine.
Here’s how to safely lift heavy items:
- Spread feet to be shoulder width apart.
- Squat down.
- Maintain posture.
- Lift slowly.
- Hold items close to your body.
- Avoid twisting your body by using your feet to change direction.
3. Take short, regular breaks
By taking regular work breaks, you are not only decreasing your stress but also your risk of experiencing an injury.
Your focus and reaction time are impaired when you are tired which increases your chance of an accident.
Frequent breaks will allow you to recharge and rest to be more productive and alert. The CDC recommends taking short breaks every two hours.
How can you incorporate more breaks into your workday?
- Get fresh air and take a walk outside
- Take some time to stretch
- Talk to your coworkers
- Refuel with a snack
4. Break up work tasks
Breaking up work tasks helps prevent you from standing or sitting in the same position and performing repetitive tasks over extended periods.
By allowing your body to move and change positions, you are reducing your chance of strain.
This strategy can also improve your productivity as you will not be looking at the same project for hours on end and are able to look at something new.
5. Follow workplace safety procedures
By being aware of and following the safety policies and procedures put in place by your employer, you are helping keep yourself and others safe.
Here are some standard safety procedures:
- Properly use provided safety gear
- Keep workstations clean and organized
- Properly use machinery and tools
- Stay up to date on required training
Your commitment to workplace safety creates a healthier and more productive work environment for everyone.
How are you doing your part in keeping yourself safe at work?