Congratulations, on your new job. One of your job duties is to ensure your safety while at work. Are you aware of potential hazards in your new environment? Make sure you know the company's health and safety information. This information is usually explained or provided to you in writing on orientation day. If you did not receive this information, be sure to ask for it. Your employer should have a safety policy in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
Even if your job isn't considered a hazardous occupation, accidents can still happen. In fact, many injuries at work are caused by common, everyday accidents. The most common types of injuries are caused by:
- Work situations may require you to lift or move heavy objects, even in an office setting. Doing this improperly can give you back or muscle injuries.
- Example: An office worker needs to bring in several heavy boxes of new equipment. While trying to pick them up from the floor and move them to a high shelf, he does not use the correct lifting technique and twists his spine, causing a back injury.
- Slips, trips, and falls.
- These accidents can lead to nasty injuries and can happen anywhere.
- Example: A worker mops up a section of floor and forgets to put up a wet floor sign. Another worker slips on the wet floor, falls, and suffers a head injury.
- Being hit by, caught in, or stuck "between" equipment is a common cause of injury. These can range from moderate to severe.
- Example: According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a worker was killed in 2003 after being caught in a mortar mixer while cleaning it.1
- Repetitive motion injuries.
- This type of injury happens to the muscles, bones, joints, nervous system, and is often caused by repetitive tasks, and awkward body positions. Office jobs are places where this injury often happens.
- Example: An office worker develops carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive motor tasks.
Here are a few tips you can follow to protect yourself. It's by no means a complete list, but it should give you a good starting point for general safety:
- If you are using a product that may be hazardous, make sure you know how to protect yourself.
- Make sure you know if there are flammable materials in the area such as gas.
- Take universal precautions if you need to clean up body fluids.
- Make sure your working area is clean and organized.
- Make sure the workplace is free of things that could be easily slipped or tripped on such as spills.
- If you use machinery as part of your job, follow your employer's safety guidelines for using the equipment.
- Know what to do if there is an emergency such as a fire or tornado.
- User proper lifting techniques for heavy items. Be sure you're not straining your body unnecessarily.
- Use good posture and ergonomics.
- If your job involves a lot of sitting, move or stretch every once in a while.
Be Safe In Your New Job by Illinois workNet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.