If you’re looking after a group of workers, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they have a safe place to work and are protected from injury while working.
It’s just good sense to make injury prevention a priority. In 2019 there were 2,814,000 instances of injuries in the workplace in the US, and while, of course, accidents do happen, there are a lot of things that you can do to keep them to a minimum.
Manual handling training
A common way people injure themselves at work is by lifting something too heavy for them or lifting something incorrectly. Doing this can cause injuries to the back and to things like ankles and wrists.
In all workplaces, there will be some amount of lifting. Even office workers might, on occasion, need to lift a ream of paper! Whatever your industry, it makes sense to include comprehensive manual handling training as part of your employee induction procedure and run refreshers periodically.
If your staff is trained in lifting heavy objects correctly, they are much less likely to injure themselves or other people.
It’s easy to fall in the workplace. All you have to do is put a foot down in the wrong place, have your vision obstructed in some way, or for there to be a spillage of some kind where you’re walking, and you can easily lose your footing. Depending on how you fall and from how great a height, the consequences of falling can be severe.
There are a lot of measures you can take to ensure that falls have a less serious outcome. Oxford Safety offers innovative fall prevention solutions for working at height, and they can help you with things like stairwell protection, safety matting, and access covers, too.
Your workplace needs to be a safe environment for all of your staff, including those who have a disability.
One of the easiest ways to prevent injury for disabled workers and ensure that your workplace is an inclusive place for them to work is to focus on accessibility. Having proper access in place for everyone means that people won’t have to take risks in order to do their job, which will keep them safer.
Some simple things you can do to improve accessibility are:
- Provide lifts and ramps as well as stairs.
- Ensure that walkways are wide enough to accommodate anyone trying to use them.
- Ensure doorways are wide enough for people using a wheelchair.
- Provide disabled parking spots.
- Provide assistive technologies such as screen reader software.
Possibly the most effective way to make your workplace more accessible is to ask people how you can make your workplace more accessible for them. If you start the conversation and keep it going, you’ll be amazed at the insights you gain.
Preventing eye strain
For people working on a computer, eye strain is quite often an issue. It can cause people to get headaches, have dry eyes, and generally feel uncomfortable.
Eye strain prevention is something that needs to be promoted within your workplace. People can often keep working for longer than they feel they want to because they feel bad taking too many breaks. To prevent eye strain, employees should:
- Take regular breaks. Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break for 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. You can use timers to remind people to do this.
- Minimize glare. Position monitors and screens so that they aren’t under the glare of lighting or affected by glare from windows.
- Improve air quality. Dry environments can exacerbate eye strain, so be mindful of this, particularly if you use an air conditioner.
- Wear the right glasses. If you need glasses, wearing a pair with the right prescription is essential for preventing eye strain. Be sure to promote regular eye checks for employees.
Preventing back pain
Computers can also cause back pain. This is mostly due to the posture that people adopt while using them and because they don’t take breaks from their work often enough.
If you want to prevent back pain in computer users, a policy for proper desk set up should be implemented and ensure that your employees take regular breaks.
- Ensure that your screen is at eye height so that you aren’t looking up or down too much. You can achieve this by using monitor risers and by ensuring that your chair is at the right height.
- Take screen breaks every 15 minutes. This doesn’t have to be a long break.
- Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and that your wrists and elbows are parallel to the floor. If your shoulders are tense, this can cause neck and back pain.
- Move around frequnetly. Every so often, get up and stretch or move around, or switch between using a sitting and standing desk.