All workplaces carry the risk of accidents, even office or other seemingly non-physical environments. In honor of June being National Safety Month, take some time to educate yourself on what you can do to protect yourself against accidents at work. Here are six common hazards in the workplace (and how to avoid them):
1. Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to the National Safety Council, slips, trips, and falls are among the leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities across all industries. Protect yourself by being aware of your surroundings and being on the lookout for wet spots or objects on floors and walkways, as well as open file cabinets and other drawers.
There are approximately 17,000 workplace fires annually, reports the U.S. Fire Administration. The leading cause is cooking, so be mindful of using any heated appliances and always turn them off when done. Ensure you know where fire extinguishers are located in your workplace, as well as the emergency exit plan in case of the need for evacuation.
Repetitive stress injuries are a common affliction in the workplace, and poor ergonomics is typically to blame. Perform stretches to help alleviate muscle aches and joint pain caused by repetitive actions. If you use a computer, make sure to take time every two minutes to look away from screens to prevent eye strain.
Unfortunately, workplace violence is a common hazard, with 20,870 assault-related injuries occurring in workplaces in 2019. The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to be vigilant at recognizing aggressive or otherwise suspicious behavior and reporting it to your employer, who should ideally have a zero-tolerance policy.
5. Indoor Air
Poor indoor air quality, such as due to contaminates like dust or mold, can cause respiratory issues. For one-off incidents of poor air quality, you can increase air circulation by opening windows or using fans. However, you should report incidents of poor indoor air quality to your facilities manager since it may indicate there are HVAC issues.
Noise levels in the workplace can range from a distraction that affects productivity to a major trigger for migraines and other headaches and contribute to high blood pressure. Use headphones when possible, and place plants in your workspace to reduce noise levels.
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