No one wants to be injured at work. Some people think they would love to win a large settlement from an accident or illness they have received on the job but the long lasting problems that accompany many occupational health hazards are more often worse and longer lasting that the money paid for such injuries and illnesses.
While most workers would prefer to be safe at work, many are still exposes to many occupational health hazards every day. As expensive as injuries and illnesses at work can be, the good new is that they can be prevented. The website, Take One Step; Wellness at Work looks at some of the causes and ways occupational health hazards can be prevented. Not needing to need to go to a medical clinic or do physical therapy is a much better route to take.
The Most Common Occupational Health Hazards
- Physical safety issues: Many of the problems people have are work are trips, slips, ear damage from loud noises, falling from a height — you can be injured at heights as low as four to six feet, using equipment without the proper training or supervision and being exposed to too much vibration.
- Issues with the ergonomics of the workspace: Many of these injuries are not as obvious because they tend to take place over a long period of time. These injuries are often due to factors such as chairs that encourage bad posture, repetitive motion from repeating an action (example: typing a lot can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome), bad lighting can lead to eye strain problems and anything that forces an employee to move in an awkward manner can lead to injury.
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals: There are a lot of chemicals that everyone knows are dangerous such as carbon monoxide (if this may be an issue for your business, it is easy to install detectors). There are a also a number of problematic chemicals that people do not think about. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found the air inside buildings can have much more air pollution that outdoor air because of the cleaning products that are used. Protect your workers from these kinds of occupational health hazards by using “green” cleaning products.
- Biological issues: This is often a problem for health care professionals but can impact a wide variety of professions. If any of your staff need to come in contact with human or animal waste, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific rules and regulations for what training and equipment staff must have to handle this kind of waste. These kinds of occupational health hazards are not limited to people who deal with human and animal waste, however. It has been estimated that the average office desk, computer and phone harbor more bacteria and viruses than a public toilet. When you add to that bug and animal bites, and the number of people who eat meals at their desks without cleaning the area afterwards. Some of these issues cannot be prevented but getting staff into the habit of cleaning their desks, keyboards, mice and phone can cut down on exposure to bacteria and viruses.
If you are an employer, it is in your best interests to take steps to keep your workers safe and healthy.
Anything you do to protect your workers from becoming ill or injured will save you money in the long run. In addition, it really makes a lot of business sense. If you have a perception problem and people start to think you do not care about your staff, less people will want to work for you and your the costs you will pay for a high turnover rate will increase. No one wants that. You should also encourage your workers to seek treatment for problems they encounter on the job. Early medical intervention is a lot more effective and inexpensive that later intervention.
If you are injured or become sick because of a problem in your workplace, you should want to receive an evaluation and follow any treatment recommendations as soon as you can. You should also inform the medical professionals what you think caused your illness or injury and document anything they find or do to help you.