According to OSHA, 5,333 people lost their lives at their workplace in 2019. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported close to 2.7 million workplace injuries in 2020. These injuries affect organizations’ bottom line because of workers’ time off from work and money lost in litigation.
Employers must take measures to keep their workforce safe and healthy. However, it is also essential to understand that reducing health risks at the workplace is not only employers’ responsibility, but it also falls equally on employees. Hence, it would be beneficial to discuss some of the easiest and most recommended ways to reduce health risks at the workplace. These include:
Never compromise on physical health
You will struggle to stay healthy at the workplace if you neglect your physical health or ignore it often. We all know how important it is to take care of our physical health as it is a sure-fire way to live a healthy life. However, not many of us act on this knowledge. Also, not many of us try to learn more about potential workplace hazards and policies on how to stay safe.
The easiest way to take care of your physical health is to make simple adaptations to our regular working routine. For instance, participating in step-counting competitions, conducting walking meetings, taking frequent breaks, and exercising. All these practices will help you stay stronger and fitter. You will also notice lesser fatigue at the office, fewer days off, and quicker recovery when you fall sick.
Eat healthily and stay hydrated
There is a misconception that eating sugary snacks combats lethargy. In reality, it leads to a crash both in energy levels and mood. This is just one example of poor eating habits at the workplace. The University of London conducted research to look at the relationship between mental health and sugar, and the results were surprising.
As per the results, workers who consumed just 67 grams of sugar in a day were 23% more likely to suffer several mental health disorders. And it is no surprise that poor mental health affects people in the workplace quite negatively. So, how can you combat these habits?
You can bring pre-prepared snacks and lunch to avoid unhealthy snacks in the office pantry or vending machine. Also, begin your day with a healthy and nutritious breakfast to keep your energy levels up. Drink plenty of water the entire day to keep your body hydrated.
Maintain a good work-life balance
Another way to reduce health risks at the workplace is to ensure a healthy balance between personal and professional responsibilities. It is easier to let several career responsibilities take over your much-needed personal life, especially when working on tight deadlines. Thus, it is essential to remember that occasional time-outs are necessary to stay mentally and physically fit.
According to the European Heart Journal research, employees who exhaust themselves by giving more hours to their work have a 60% higher risk of developing heart-related problems. These include non-fatal heart attacks, angina, or even death due to heart disease.
All these shocking stats put into perspective how important it is to balance work and personal commitments. You may make some plans after work to ignore the temptation of staying late. Managing work-life balance reduces the risk of overworking on both physical and mental health.
Never ignore your mental health
Most people fail to realize that poor mental health is one of the most significant health risks at the workplace. If you are not mentally fresh or stable, you are prone to accidents at the workplace. A study conducted by Mental Health Foundation on stress showed that almost 75% of 4650 respondents failed to work effectively because of exhaustion every year.
Remember, mental health significantly impacts your relationships and quality of life. Thus, it is essential to be in a trustworthy and open environment within your workplace to combat this issue and to stay healthy.
Also, participate in various mental health awareness programs and training offered at the workplace. These initiatives ensure you develop a firm understanding of all those issues you face at the workplace and how to look for the support you may need urgently. Indeed, it is of the best ways to deal with mental health issues in the workplace.
Build health and safety as part of the workplace culture
As stated earlier, workplace health and safety is not the sole responsibility of your organization or one employee. It is a collective effort that requires attention from everyone. It is not wrong to say that it is a goal the entire company must own.
Thus, if a healthy and safe culture is your company’s objective, it should also be your ultimate goal. So, ensure everyone around you takes health and safety as their responsibility. If possible, recognize and appreciate those who fulfill this responsibility well. The same applies to employers. They must also give recognition to those who set a good example.
If you know any specific hazards, ensure all other employees know how to avoid them. For instance, to reduce the chances of slips and falls, educate your colleagues on the best practices for reducing clutter or securing cords, etc. Ensure everyone has access to safety equipment and uses it.
While employers must oversee the health and safety training of their staff, employees must follow instructions to the T. Health and safety go beyond just training and policies. Indeed, it is a way of preparing and thinking by employees and employers alike to make sure the workplace remains safe for all.