As stated by the CDC, the costs related to workplace injuries and diseases reached a staggering $60 billion in 2015 alone. What’s more, the top 10 workplace disorders and disabilities amounted to approximately $51.4 billion in total.
On the other hand, injuries and illnesses caused by overexertion usually topped the list of workplace-related diseases. A few causes of overexertion at the workplace included holding, pushing, lifting, pulling, throwing, or carrying heavy items.
Although injuries associated with overexertion cost businesses about $14 billion in losses, workplace-related injuries due to falls or drops amounted to $11.2 billion in total.
After studying these numbers, workers must take a minute and think about whether or not their employers prioritize employee safety or encourage following health and safety procedures and protocols.
After all, there’s no reason to believe that a workplace will be better without proper safety and security measures in place. In fact, a healthy and safe workplace leads to more productive, motivated, and healthier workers, ensuring efficiency and accuracy.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few tips to prevent workplace illnesses and keep yourself injury-free.
Consider promoting a culture of safety within the workplace.
Businesses and workplaces that commit to eliminating workplace hazards are better equipped to provide their employees with a safe and secure working environment.
Ensuring employee safety by promoting a safety culture will improve employee productivity and morale while reducing workplace injuries and illnesses.
For instance, when working with asbestos-containing material daily, ensure there are health and safety measures in place that highlight proper ways of handling such substances.
Asbestos is known for causing life-threatening diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma (terminal). If you’re already suffering from mesothelioma, consult your doctor to get answers to common questions related to the illness and treatment options.
In addition, consider hiring a competent attorney to lay out all your legal options if you contracted mesothelioma due to your employer’s negligence.
Practice healthy habits.
Seasonal flu is expected during the winter and fall seasons. As a result, more and more individuals spend time working indoors, spreading germs to their coworkers.
Then in the summers, people start worrying about allergies. Focus on personal hygiene and other healthy habits the entire year-round to remain illness-free at work.
Furthermore, ask your employer to stock the workplace with disinfectant sprays and wipes, hand sanitizers, and soap throughout the year.
Moreover, consider keeping your workstation as clean as possible to avoid spreading germs and diseases.
Remember, staying on top of your health by keeping the workplace clean reduces the risk of contracting numerous workplace illnesses.
Review your employer’s sick leave policies.
It is a standard business practice to give workers paid sick leaves, especially when they have emergencies to tend to.
However, these sick days usually enable you to take some time off to get better during an illness, as well as prevent you from infecting your coworkers.
If your employer doesn’t give you any sick days, you’ll probably end up pushing through to prevent your paycheck from being stacked.
Since the U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t have any policies related to sick leaves, ensure that your employer offers you adequate leaves in case you need them.
Follow labels and signs posted by your employer.
While staying up-to-date with the latest health and safety policies will keep you illness-free, following labels and signs present within the workplace will reduce the chances of injuries and accidents.
First, you must ensure that all workplace signs and labels are clear and visible, even from ten feet away.
If you have to squint your eyes to read what’s written on these signs and warning labels, ask your employer to post new ones that consist of bigger, bolder fonts.
Furthermore, don’t forget to keep a copy of the health and safety data sheet and review it whenever required, especially when operating machinery or handling hazardous chemicals.
Keep yourself and your coworkers well-informed.
Since false information spreads like wildfire in these situations, leading to panic. However, to remain calm and ensure your coworkers do the same, visit the CDC’s website to gather information and share it with everyone at the workplace in case of an outbreak.
Furthermore, it would be wise to ask your employer to develop a business continuity plan to know how the workplace will function during a natural disaster or pandemic.
Always keep a copy of the employee handbook with you.
Even if your employer has hired a handful of workers, they mustn’t forget to distribute a copy of the employee handbook to everyone a the workplace.
This critical price of business documents will allow you to understand essential workplace health and safety policies and procedures. That said, an employee handbook typically contains;
- A business continuity plan
- Information related to various business laws
- Work-from-home guidelines and processes
- Sick leave policies
- Ways to operate machinery
- Break policies
An employee handbook should be a dynamic piece of document. So, ask your employer to update and reshare as needed.
Sometimes, it will be tricky to minimize or prevent illnesses at the workplace. However, with the help of some proper planning and health and safety guidelines, you can keep yourself sickness and illness-free.
The main thing to consider here is to keep yourself disease-free as much as possible. To do so, follow the prevention tips mentioned in this article, and you’ll be good to go.