For most of us, the workplace is where we spend the vast majority of our waking lives. Yet, so many people fail to properly look after themselves while they are at work. I work in a busy office, so whilst you may think this is fairly risk free, there are certain pitfalls that even working in an office can bring. I am quite guilty of lugging heavy boxes of paper around and running through the office like a maniac when I’m trying to get stuff done. Whatever the underlying cause is, it is hugely important not to allow yourself to become too lax when it comes to your own well-being, wherever you work.
As it happens, it is incredibly important to look after yourself at work – not just for yourself, but for your family and your colleagues. There are many things you can do to keep your risk low, and we are going to look at what those might be now. Let’s take a look at the most essential basic steps towards looking after your wellbeing at work.
Follow The Rules
Sounds daft, but no matter what kind of workplace you work in, there are bound to be certain rules and regulations in place. This is true of every industry in the world, and all businesses have to comply with them. It is important that you as an individual also comply with the rules, as they are usually in place to keep you as safe as possible. No matter what health and safety regulations there are, you should make every effort to follow them as closely as you possibly can. Of course, in order to be able to do that, you need to first know what those rules are as well as possible. It might be that your workplace is quite unclear on the rules, in which case this is something you might want to raise with them. A good workplace should have the safety rules clearly on display in an obvious place (ours are on the kitchen wall next to the brew making facilities – you can’t miss them), and you should also be trained on them in any initial training you might have to do when you join the company. Usually, there will also be follow-up training as time progresses. It is important that you go along to these, and that you take them seriously.
It is perfectly possible, however, that you work for a company which, for whatever reason, is not quite being strict on the rules. This can happen from negligence, laziness, or a lack of care. Whatever the underlying cause, it is not your problem to fix these major issues within the company. You should, however, feel capable to report such failings to management or a third party. If you do that, you will be doing your own small part in improving the safety of the business, and of the industry as a whole. This is so important, and it is worth remembering that you are able to anonymously complain about anything within the company you work for if you feel it is necessary. Beyond that, be sure to follow the rules as closely as you can, and you will have done most of what you need to do to avoid basic mistakes which could lead to serious injury or illness.
Your employer has a duty to look after you in the workplace to a certain degree. This means that they need to provide a safe space in which you can work, and give you the necessary tools and equipment to ensure your safety no matter what you are doing. However, it is equally true that you need to take individual responsibility for your own safety. If you do not do this, then there is nobody else to blame if something terrible happens. Of course, it is a kind of partnership – you need to meet your employer in the middle somewhat. But you should be sure to make every effort to look after your own well-being as much as you can.
Often, this will mean that you need to carry out certain tasks or raise issues with your employer in order to keep things safe. As well as working in partnership with them, you should be sure to work closely with your other colleagues. When everyone is working together for a better focus on health and safety, that is when everyone is likely to feel as safe as possible for as long as possible.
We have already said that being able to raise issues with management is an important part of looking after your own wellbeing in the workplace. But a lot of people struggle with this. For a start, it can be tricky to know when it is necessary to raise something and when it is not. It is also often the case that employees do not feel entirely confident enough to raise certain issues with their employers, perhaps for fear of reprisal. Nonetheless, it is important to try and get past this way of thinking so that you can ensure the workplace is the safest it can possibly be. If you don’t know whether something is worth raising, it is a good idea to try. The worst that can happen is that your employer takes it off your hands anyway. No matter what it is, you should raise it if you are concerned about it. This could be a problem with some equipment or machinery, or it might be the behaviour of a fellow colleague. Either way, don’t be afraid to speak up about it when you feel you should.
Know What To Do When The Worst Happens
From time to time, there will be injuries and illnesses in the workplace. There is only so much you can do to avoid that being the case. But you can make things much easier by knowing a little about what you should do in such circumstances. If you know what the right course of action is when someone is injured, you will find that you are much more confident at work in general,and in particular when something of this nature actually occurs.
First of all, it should be reported to the duty manager currently on site. They should then perform any necessary first aid and call the emergency services if it is necessary. It might also be necessary to get some kind of legal help on board, depending on the nature of what has happened. For a fall, it is worth contacting a slip and fall lawyer, even if only to check that the injured party is owed any kind of compensation. However, the priority at the scene is ensuring that everybody is looked after, and the scene made safe again as soon as possible.
Keep Stress Down
Some of the ways that work affects your health are much more subtle than others. Stress is a good example. Over time, stress can really take its toll on the human body and mind. If you feel that you could probably do with managing your stress a little, then there is no time like the present to start doing just that. If you don’t know where to begin, the most important thing is to ensure that you take it slow while you are at work. This is so important if you really want to look after yourself, as it ensures that you are less likely to develop stress over time which can soon store in the body and cause further ongoing problems. It might also be worth looking into stress management options, such as meditation. Done right, this can be a great way to keep your stress down and manageable, and that will help to keep you healthy more generally.
As long as you are putting effort into keeping your stress down, you should be able to make much better use of your time at work – and keeping yourself generally healthy will be much easier as well.
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