Health and safety in the workplace.
Thoughts about your health shouldn’t stop just because you are at work. We can sometimes detach our work-self from our personal-self but we need to take care of ourselves in both arenas. Each year, more than 4 million Americans will suffer from an injury or illness acquired while working. More shockingly, in the U.S. 12 people die each day while working. The Occupational Health and Safety Law is a federal law which was created in 1970 to protect workers. This law sets and enforces standards of health and safety in workplaces. However, we shouldn’t rely just on this law to protect us. Regardless of what industry we work in, there are things we can all do each day to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe and healthy.
Natural Resources & Mining
The natural resources and mining industries consistently feature at the top of the list of industries with the most workplace injuries and deaths. This isn’t too surprising given the inherently dangerous nature of many mining and drilling jobs. In the early days of mining, the industry was not heavily regulated. This changed in 1977 with the introduction of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act . However, this hasn’t completely eradicated workplace injuries and deaths in the industry. If you or someone you knows works in the natural resources or mining sectors, there are some key protection steps you should be following:
- Make sure to follow the training and safety procedures you learned even if you think something else would work better. Don’t cut corners!
- Communicate and stay in touch with your teammates. You must take care of each other.
- Wear your safety equipment. If you lost or broke something, replace it. If you are missing a piece of safety gear, let someone know. Don’t just charge ahead with your work.
- If something seems dangerous, don’t ignore your gut instincts. Stop until you are fully prepared to tackle the task at hand.
- Ensure you follow all the basic steps people should follow: get enough sleep, eat healthily and get exercise. If you are fit and healthy, you will be better able to handle any adversary that comes your way.
Injuries and deaths in the agricultural industry also rate highly on the list of occupational accidents. Operations in the farming and agriculture industry tend to be family-run so the risk of multiple injuries or fatalities in the one family is higher in agriculture than most other industries. The most common cause of deaths in the agriculture industry is overturned tractors. Roll-Over Protective Structures are available for tractors but the latest research shows that only 59% of tractors in the U.S. are equipped with these structures. Of course there are other causes of injuries and deaths on farms and other agricultural grounds. Here are some more ways to stay safe when working in agriculture:
- Have a prepared plan for all possible emergency situations and make sure everyone on the farm know the plans.
- Inclement weather can be a factor in many injuries and deaths. Make sure you are equipped to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
- Only allow fully trained staff members operate specialized machinery and vehicles.
- Wear appropriate clothing that won’t get trapped or caught in machines.
- If you use chemical or natural hazards, make sure you know how to use them correctly and limit exposure.
If we suffer a work place injury, we will likely turn to healthcare professionals for first aid. However, we sometimes forget that these practitioners need to keep themselves safe too, especially if they want to continue providing the best possible care to patients. In fact, healthcare is one of the industries for injuries and deaths. This isn’t too surprising considering the level of exposure these professionals have to disease, infection and hazardous situations. The injuries that are most common for healthcare professionals to suffer from are musculoskeletal injuries caused by heavy lifting, violent assaults from patients and gastrointestinal complaints. Whether you work in a small clinic, an ER or in a nursing home, here are some things you can do to keep yourself safe and healthy at work:
- Wash your hands regularly and try to limit exposing your skin to the bodily fluids of other
- Wear protective equipment, especially if working with needles and blood
- Don’t be a hero; if a patient or a piece of equipment is too heavy for you to move, ask for help or use a special lifting machine if available
- If you feel unsafe with a patient or a patient’s family member, make sur e you are not left alone with this person. Alert security if you think others are unsafe too
- Make sure you get enough sleep and rest. Your job may require you to work long hours but going to work mentally and physically tired will put you, your colleague and patients at risk of injury or accidental death
All industries and jobs come with their own risks. Some may be less serious or concerning than others but wherever you work, make sure you are safe. Make sure you know who the Safety Manger or Officer is and ask them for help if needed. You should also make sure that your workplace has a fully stocked first aid kit and that everyone knows escape routes in case of fire, natural disaster and other life threatening events. Take time out of your work day on this year’s World Day For Health and Safety at Work and ensure all your colleagues now how to stay safe and avoid injury at work.
Feeling better about your health or fitness shouldn’t be a chore. If you ever need some extra support, come by BEFIT to speak with one of our trainers or simply fill out a Free Consultation Request by clicking the link and a fitness professional will reach out to you within 24 hours.