Getting injured is unfortunate, but it can be a fact of life. Maybe you’ve had too much to drink and trip over a step that doesn’t exist. Perhaps you’re messing around, and something goes wrong. It could be someone else’s silliness that’s to blame. Most of the time it will jut be your pride that’s hurt, and you can brush yourself down and forget all about it. However, when it comes to the workplace, injuries are no laughing matter.
If you’re an employee, it’s your companies duty to protect you from harm, and if you are injured, you could look into work accident injury compensation. If you’re a business owner, it’s important that you follow health and safety precautions, and have the correct insurances to protect yourself if the worst is to happen. Whether you run a business or just work in one of these roles yourself, here are some risks to bear in mind.
Nothing can happen in a nice, safe office. Right? Actually, there are a number of accidents and injuries which can pose a real problem. Trips and falls are the most common accident, and in fact, those who work in an office are 2.5 times more likely to suffer this injury than a non office worker. Trips can be a result of loose carpets, wires, cabinets and drawers being left open and objects on the ground. In potentially slippy areas such as kitchens, spills and wet floors can lead to slips. Another common injury is people standing on chairs to reach things rather than using a proper step or ladder. Using common sense is important, as well as keeping the office area tidy and making sure there is adequate lighting.
Along with these kinds of accidents, working in an office can also lead to things like back, neck and wrist strain if proper desks and chairs aren’t used. Eye strain is also an issue which can lead to headaches and other problems. Make sure chairs are comfortable and are able to be adjusted. Ergonomically designed desks and chairs should be provided, especially since you will be spending a good portion of your day (and life in general) here. Making sure you have the correct prescription in your glasses and using a coloured monitor overlay can help reduce glare and eye strain. Taking regular breaks is advisable too, ensuring that your eyes have chance to relax and focus on something long distance as opposed to constant up close work on the computer.
Since office work tends to be sedentary, gaining weight and obesity can pose a problem too. It’s more important than ever to be active during evenings and weekends so you can maintain a healthy weight and fitness level. If your office is above the ground floor, taking the stairs and going for walks at lunchtime also allow you to stretch your legs. You could even try under desk exercise equipment like a pedal machine. These can reduce the chance of conditions like DVT due to sitting for long periods.
Working on a building site poses a number of risks and concerns. While tradesmen will have the relevant health and safety training and certificates, for workers like laborers, hod carriers and builders mates it’s important that they have the right training before even stepping on site. Everyone should have the correct workwear on- a high visibility vest, a hard hat and steel toe cap boots to prevent any unnecessary injury. When working in construction, there’s the additional risk of trip and falls due to things like unfinished floor surfaces. Since many building sites are outdoors (or partially outdoors) weather conditions like snow and ice can cause the ground to become slippery too.
Construction workers have the added danger of things like trenches collapsing, machines malfunctioning (or not being used correctly). There’s the risk of burns, electrocution, falling from height or coming into contact with toxic materials like asbestos. Ensuring everyone on site has had the correct training for their role is an essential job for the site manager. In the case of builders mates and laborers, they should only be doing the work they have been assigned and not helping with other more difficult tasks which they don’t have the training for.
Factory and Warehouse
In factories, you will be dealing with powerful machines on a daily basis. Your main risk is one of the machines malfunctioning or not being used correctly. In warehouses, a big problem is people lifting heavy loads incorrectly. Learning how to lift properly and not trying to lift boxes or items that are too heavy for you will prevent back pain, knee pain, and other issues. Again with most roles, slips trips and falls are an issue. And as the work is indoors, fires can be another problem. Make sure you know the fire drill routine and that fire doors are functioning with exits clear.
Both warehouse and factory work can be very fast paced, and mean long hours on your feet. This can lead to back, neck and leg pain, and can also result in feeling weak and dizzy. Ensuring you’re in good general health will help this, being strong with a good fitness level will benefit you here. Making sure you’re drinking enough water and eating the right foods will give you the energy you need for such a demanding role.
Courier/ Delivery/ Traveling Salesman
Does your role involve a lot of driving, or do you drive exclusively for a living? Being out on the roads again put you at specific risks. While the roads are generally pretty safe, accidents can and do happen and there are a few things to be aware of. Firstly, whether you drive your own vehicle or the companies, it should be fully road worthy. This means having any issues checked out right away, and regular services to check everything is as it should be. We all know the dangers of drink driving, but driving tired can also be a killer. Making sure you get enough rest before a long journey and taking pit stops as needed is essential.
Removing any distractions is also something to consider. Eating, drinking or smoking at the wheel can all take your attention from the road, as can looking at your mobile phone or programming a satellite navigation while you’re on the go. You need to have your wits about you when you’re on the road, it’s not just your driving you have to think about. Not everyone will do the right things, so being able to respond to them in the right way and in plenty of time can help keep you and others safe. Proper planning is key- avoid very congested areas where possible (especially at busy times) and have your route programmed and ready to go before setting off.
Generally practicing good driving habits at all times is crucial. Going back to basics, ensuring you’re signaling correctly, leaving a good separation distance from the car in front and following all of the rules of the road including the speed limit is essential. Follow these rules correctly, and you will significantly reduce your chance of having an accident.
Have you ever been injured at work, or as a business owner has any of your employees? What risks are most common in your line of work?