As more and more workplaces open back up, and the workforce returns to on-site operations, occupational health has been at the forefront of many employers’ minds. Making sure their workforce is safe and healthy while on the job is one of the primary responsibilities of an employer, after all.
Looking after your health and safety in the workplace is critical to ensuring a positive and productive environment. Here are some of the top tips you can use to make sure you’re looking after your occupational health.
1. Be aware of your environment
Whenever you begin in a new workplace, make sure to take a moment to understand the layout of your environment. Look out for any potential hazards, such as heavy machinery, rigging, or heights. Even if you work in a standard office without any heavy machinery or rigging, there are still likely to be a few hidden hazards lying around. Knowing your environment will help you to avoid hazards, and respond with foresight if a problem does arise.
2. Regularly check fire alarms
Workplace safety regulations mandate that fire alarms are a must, so every workplace should be complying with this. However, even when there is a smoke alarm in place, it’s all too easy to let it sit there unchecked. If a smoke alarm turns out to be faulty and in place when a fire occurs, this can lead to far more serious consequences.
This can be easily avoided by regularly checking the fire alarms. Simply add the fire alarms to the roster of cleaning or maintenance tasks to make sure that every alarm in place is doing its job correctly and keeping you safe.
3. Take first aid course
This is something that many employers have implemented in the workplace in recent years in order to keep their employees safe. Taking a basic course in first aid and emergency response could go a long way in minimising harm in a crisis, or even go so far as to save someone’s life. Knowing how to react if someone receives an injury or has a medical crisis means your workplace overall is a safer space. Even if it’s unlikely, basic first aid training such as CPR, insulin injection, and bandaging a wound may come in surprisingly handy some day!
4. Keep emergency exits clear
In the event of an emergency, people need to be able to get out - fast. Make sure all fire escapes and emergency exits are kept clear at all times to prevent worsening the consequences of any health and safety issue that could occur.
5. Have a system for reporting faults
It should be the employer’s responsibility to make sure that there are routine health and safety checks being performed within the workplace. However, everyone makes mistakes and sometimes even the most thorough of checks might fail to miss something. If you spot something that looks out of place, make sure there’s a proper system in place for making reports. It’s all too often that tragedies happen on account of a report not being properly followed up. Employers should make sure that any abnormality spotted in the workplace is thoroughly investigated to prevent a minor issue from developing into something major.
6. Protect your posture
One of the most common health complaints that arises from an office is pains and aches on account of poor posture. Put conscious effort into protecting your posture by sitting up straight and adjusting your posture throughout the day. Invest in ergonomic office furniture designed to protect your posture, such as an adjustable desk chair or standing desk. This will greatly lower your risk of developing health complaints on account of the office environment.
7. Safeguard against stress in the workplace
While occupational health is most commonly associated with checking for physical hazards within the workplace, it’s important not to overlook the impact of mental and emotional well-being on our overall health. Each and every workplace should dedicate itself to protecting the mental and emotional needs of its staff.
Allowing for regular breaks throughout the day, giving greater flexibility to the schedule, and even offering mental health days are all important steps employers are heavily encouraged to take in order to safeguard the internal wellbeing of their workforce.
At the end of the day, this effort to protect their workers ends up being a net benefit to an employer, as it is shown that improved employee safety and wellbeing within the workplace contributes to higher productivity and a far greater level of employee satisfaction. As an employee, you should always deserve to feel safe and healthy in your workplace environment, so take whatever steps you can to ensure that, and never be afraid to voice your concerns and ask for more.