The recent incidents of natural disasters, on-site crimes, and other crisis situations affecting businesses nationwide has made keeping safe at work more important than ever. As an individual, there are many steps you can take to protect your personal safety and reduce your risk of injury and harm while at work. Here are some tips:
- Know your employer’s emergency plan and location of the nearest emergency exits. Always attend fire drills at work.
- Find out where the first aid kits are stored. If available, learn how to use your company’s AED (automated external defibrillator device). It checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm in the case of a sudden cardiac arrest.
- Stash a personal emergency kit in your desk. Stock it with a flashlight, bottle of water, and nonperishable food.
- Take rest breaks and get plenty of sleep. Many mistakes, injuries and even life-threatening accidents are caused by exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
- Safeguard your spine while sitting. Sit with your shoulders and hips aligned to reduce pressure on your spine. Prolonged sitting, especially without proper lower back support, is one of the biggest health risks for office workers.
- Use safety measures. Squat to better utilize your leg muscles when you pick heavier things up, if possible, and wear the recommended hard hat, goggles and other protective gear.
- Tell your boss or HR about unsafe conditions. Report extreme temperatures, toxic fumes, broken glass, unsafe fixtures or obstacles blocking pathways.
- If you’re working after hours, create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation. Or ask a security guard to escort you. Always park in well-lighted, high-traffic areas, and have your keys in your hand as you approach your car.
- If a coworker shows signs of potential violence, report this to your supervisor, HR or the appropriate person.
- Immediately report any incidents of harassment. This includes sexual and nonsexual threats of any kind via in person, emails, calls or texts from coworkers, customers, family members, acquaintances or strangers. Let the HR person or security officer know right away if you are being stalked or followed.
For Health Advocate members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our EAP+Work/Life program, a Licensed Professional Counselor can guide you with the proper steps to protect yourself, ease your anxiety and help you function more fully at work. You can also talk to a Work/Life Specialist who can help you find additional resources for help.