Every year thousands of people are injured at work, or suffer from a work-related disease. There are a number of ways to prevent injuries at work. A workplace assessment is critical. A few simple tips to think about include;
- Keeping proper posture.When it comes to posture, your mother did know best. Her reminders to stand up straight and stop slouching were good advice. The way you carry yourself has a dramatic effect on your health. Posture improves your appearance and helps you project self-confidence and self-assurance. When you repeat poor posture every day, your body’s structure slowly changes and adapts to it, resulting in misalignment and pain e.g back, neck, hip or knee pain and headaches.
- If you use your hands a lot (such as typing) then give your hands and wrists a quick break every 30 minutes.
- Report any hazardous equipment or areas such as slippery floors or loose carpet.
- Help prevent back injuries by learning the correct way to lift (lift with your legs) and using appropriate lifting equipment where necessary.
- Consider an ergonomic chair.
- Create a health and safety tip sheet for your workplace.
No. 1 tip for a healthy workplace
Sit less and move more! Did you know a study in the British Medical Journal, shows that sitting for more than three hours per day can reduce your life expectancy by up to two years?
10 tips for sitting less in your work day
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Try a standing meeting or a walking meeting.
- Fill up your water bottle – on another floor of your building.
- Stand up when you speak on the phone.
- Get to work the active way; walk, bike or get off the bus/matatu at an earlier stop.
- Walk over to a colleague and pass on a message instead of emailing.
- Head to the gym in your lunch break or just take a walk around the streets.
- Try some quick exercises at your desk such as relaxed breathing, arm and neck stretches.
- Invest in a pedometer and see how many steps you can do in a day.
- If you can, set up your desk as a standing desk.
How can physical therapy help?
If you experience an injury at work then a physical therapist can provide assessment and rehabilitation to help you remain at work, or return to your job. While the workplace is the main focus a physical therapist can also look at your ability to function at home and in your community.
There is a range of physical therapy services that can help you be better at work including;
- Workplace assessments and recommendations.
- Analyzing work tasks and recommending changes to prevent injury.
- Education about injury prevention in the workplace, including back care, manual handling and prevention of occupational overuse syndrome.
- Treatment of work related injuries.
- Return-to-work planning.
- Stress management and relaxation therapies.
- Pain management.
New Zealand Physio blog http://physiotherapy.org.nz
Compiled by; Nellie Nthiga,
C & P Health Center.