Workplace tips from a seasoned workers’ comp attorney (otherwise known as me!)
After handling work injury cases for over 25 years, I feel that I am in the unique position to comment on what steps companies can take to increase safety within the workplace. What follows is a list of workplace tips which every employee should know.
Be aware of your surroundings
Every workplace has its own hazards. Whether on the factory floor or the office suite, employees should always be aware of their surroundings. Learn the possible risks associated with your workplace. Once you are aware of them, it is easier to take steps to avoid the dangerous conditions.
Keep correct posture
Once again, this applies whether you work in an office or as a construction worker. For jobs involving manual labor, be sure to lift properly and ask for assistance rather than lift something yourself. In the office environment, ergonomics are more important. A chair should provide proper support for your back, with both feet on the floor and arms at a comfortable level to use the keyboard and mouse. Keeping the correct posture will help avoid traumatic back injuries as well as long term, chronic repetitive injuries.
This includes keeping emergency exits accessible. Hopefully they will never be used, but it is important to take this precaution. Additionally, keep junk away from furnaces, hot water heaters and computers. These devices can get hot and flammable materials present an obvious risk. Of course, I recognize that closets are the repositories of junk, but try to keep things away from these fire hazards.
Report unsafe conditions or behavior
It is important that all employees take an interest in a safe work place. What may be an obvious risk to you may not be so obvious to someone else or they may be distracted and not notice the danger. Likewise, dangerous or reckless behavior can result in injury to not only that person, but to others. Factories long ago recognized the benefit of rewarding their employees for “accident free” time periods. Unsafe conditions impact everyone.
Avoid drugs or alcohol
Obviously, drugs and alcohol have no place in the workplace. But, three percent of all work related accidents are partially attributed to intoxication. More importantly, limit the use of drugs or alcohol outside of business hours. Coming to work “hung over” results in lack of productivity as well as presents a potential for injury. It impacts concentration and motor control. No workplace tolerates the use of these substances at the job or if it affects performance. Keep this in mind.
Reduce your stress level over work
Most jobs involve some level of stress, some more than others. But, take affirmative steps to reduce the stress caused by your job. It is well documented that too much stress is bad for you. Whether it is by taking period breaks, delegating responsibility or working on relaxation techniques, address excessive stress caused by your job.
After witnessing thousands of work injuries over the years in my representation of injured workers, the above tips summarize a lot of what I have seen. Of course, some injuries are unpreventable. But the goal of everyone, even a workers’ compensation lawyer like myself, is a reduction in workplace injuries. Stay safe out there! If you are injured on the job, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.