We all know that some workplaces come with significantly more risk than others. If you work in construction, in manufacturing, or in agriculture, you know that there are dangers you encounter every day. However, this might lead people in environments as docile as the office to believe that they’re entirely safe. That’s not necessarily true. Everyone who works in an office needs to be aware of the following dangers and what they can do to mitigate or avoid them.
Aches and pains
The health risk at work that most are already aware of (and probably have experience of) are the aches and pains that come as a result of doing the same task in the same position for hours on end. When it comes to office furniture, a lack of investment in posture-changing chairs and adequately positioned desks can lead to long-term back pain. If you work using a keyboard, some of the measures at http://www.rsiprevention.com, such as making sure your keyboard is at the right height and taking the time to stretch your hands, can reduce your risk of developing severe repetitive strain injuries.
The best way to prevent those aches and pains is to find the opportunities to break up the monotony. If you can do something that doesn’t involve typing for a half-hour here and there, do it. Don’t forget to get up from the desk and stretch your legs every hour, too. You can even ask the boss if they have any errands you can do while on your feet so you get the green light.
In many jobs, if you’re not on the computer, you’re on the phone or communicating with co-workers. But the level of talking required by many jobs is fast becoming a health concern. Particularly in call centers, vocal cord damage is starting to become a frequent danger. If you work in such a job, it’s recommended you drink plenty of water to keep your throat lubricated and practice speaking evenly or using a microphone instead of a handset.
Go into the light
There are a lot of offices that don’t give you access to natural light. This might seem like no big deal, but links between feelings of lethargy and depression have been connected to poorly lit environments, not to mention the increased risk of workplace accidents such as tripping. When paired with computer use, it can be even riskier. As https://www.atriushealth.org states, constant exposure to a computer screen can lead to eye strain, migraines, and increased risk of nearsightedness.
Taking breaks when possible is always advisable, including ensuring that you’re not sitting at your computer desk when you eat lunch. However, surrounding the computer with task lighting like a lamp can reduce the contrast between the screen and its surroundings, making it safer to use.
How’s your environment?
It’s not always about what you do for work. Sometimes, where you work can make as big a difference. Poor air quality in the workplace, affected by the state of ventilation and cleanliness, can be dangerous to those with respiratory conditions like asthma. Then there are the materials still present in some buildings.
Asbestos and lead paint have been banned from construction since 1989 and 1978, respectively. But as sites like https://www.lawsuitlegal.com show, there are still ongoing successful lawsuits from employees who develop mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. Not all older buildings have been updated to modern standards. There’s a growing modern danger, too, particularly in photocopiers that aren’t properly maintained. When not taken care of, these machines can produce lethal levels of ozone. If you’re concerned about your work environment, you shouldn’t stay quiet about it.
All in your head
It can be more difficult to talk about mental health in the office because many people don’t want to deal with the stigma or fear looking weak before their colleagues. However, the workplace is one of the leading causes of stress.
If you don’t believe you can talk to your boss about dealing with it, then you should try to figure out ways to overcome stress on your own. This might mean therapeutic steps in the home, but it also means tackling the issues at work causing stress. If you’re being pressured into taking overtime, put your foot down. If you’re finding it difficult to maintain a work-life balance, perhaps you need to consider asking for more flexible working conditions.
Don’t forget sick coworkers
Of course, you can just as easily get sick thanks to other people. Offices are a hotbed of disease when cold or flu season comes around. Not everyone gets vaccinated and not everyone practices proper hygiene. In the workplace, it’s not going over-the-top for you to be doubly secure about your own hygiene, in that case. Having your own hand sanitizer to use every time you get up or sit down at your desk or use the toilet can make an immediate impact on how at-risk you are of catching what’s going around.
Death by sitting
Nowadays, there’s a lot of fuss being about the supposed dangers of sitting down for too long. It’s true that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to increased risk of heart attacks, high cholesterol, obesity, and more. But there are new results being found that sitting for too long in the day can cause a whole slew of health problems, as shown by https://www.washingtonpost.com. Bone disorders, muscle degeneration, and even cancer are being touted as some of the dangers attributed to sitting down for too long.
Beyond improving your posture as mentioned above, a sedentary job has to be accompanied by a more active lifestyle outside the workplace. Many have even taken to using standing desks to mitigate many of the dangers.
If you have a real health and safety concern, whether it’s physical or mental, talking to your boss about it can help you make a real difference. It’s never worth suffering in silence and jeopardizing your health to keep things convenient and calm at work. Your employer has a responsibility to ensure that your work isn’t affecting your health.