Workplace Injury: How to Be Prepared

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Your boss asks you to help move a few boxes. Before you even think about it, you bend over at the waist to pick up the load and feel a severe stabbing pain in your back that takes your breath away. You slowly stand up straight, but all you see are stars circling your head like in the cartoons. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-often occurrence in many offices across the country, and it can affect the work performance of any employee. You might not even realize that this is a workplace injury and you have the right to healthcare and possibly compensation if this would ever happen to you. 

 

Many people think that workplace injuries only happen at construction sites or in factories. However, many of the most common workplace injuries, such as sprains, strains, and lacerations can happen just about anywhere. Here are the essentials you need to know to keep yourself and your workplace safe. 

Understanding Workplace Injuries

According to the National Safety Council, one person is injured on the job every seven seconds in the U.S. That means that throughout one year, there are 4.5 million injuries. These injuries range from “treat and street” issues where you might be seen in a clinic or emergency room and then sent home to severe life-altering injuries and illnesses or even death. 

 

Injuries that occur the most frequently don’t cause severe damage; in fact, many of them don’t even cause visible problems. The top three workplace injuries that cause workers to miss days from work are those that include overexertion, such as lifting a box that’s too heavy, contact with an object or equipment, and slips, trips, and falls. Other common occurrences that can take you out of commission include poor body mechanics and environmental hazards such as wet floors or icy sidewalks.

Prevention is Key

While you don’t have to be an occupational health and safety specialist to spot an unsafe situation, working with one to create safety plans is never a bad idea. Since the top injuries are common occurrences, most of them can be prevented by following a few simple safety tips. Check out these three ways to keep yourself and coworkers safe at work:

Be Aware

Seeing and reporting trip hazards like cords across a walkway or a spill in the cafeteria doesn’t take any particular skill. If you notice anything in your office that might be a safety issue, fix it if you can. If it’s a more significant issue, such as clutter blocking a fire exit or an overflowing toilet, be sure to report it to your supervisor or internal safety committee, if you have one. 

Protect Your Back

Back injuries are common, and once you have an injury, your risk of re-injury increases three to five times. The good news about back injuries is that most of them are preventable. Use these lifting and back injury tips if you need to lift a box or other heavy object around the office:

 

  • Stretch before lifting heavy objects.
  • Make sure you’re wearing safe, closed-toe shoes with good traction when lifting.
  • Use a dolly or pushcart if carrying the object a long distance.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Divide large loads into smaller ones, if possible.
  • Carry the object as close to your body as you can. 

Reduce Workplace Stress

Let’s face it: work is stressful. When you start feeling burned out at work, you might struggle to concentrate or rush through tasks, both of which can increase your risk of injuries. 

 

If you need to decrease your stress levels at work, try at least one of these four strategies:

  • Choose healthy foods so that you get the nutrition you need. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, like nicotine.
  • Aim for eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Plan regular breaks throughout the workday and try to get the most important tasks done before lunch.
  • Live a happy life by adopting a few holistic ways to live, such as regular trips to the chiropractor or massage therapist and aromatherapy.

What to Do if You Get Hurt

Even if you do all of the right things to create balance in a world full of movement — sometimes accidents just happen. If you’re injured at work, you should always report the accident immediately. What might feel like a minor ache or pain today could make it difficult to get out of bed tomorrow. Many states only allow injuries to be reported within a specific time frame for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. This is why notifying your supervisor promptly is critical.

 

You might live in a state that requires accident reports be in writing. While some states allow reports to be verbal, it’s always best to write out what happened and turn it into your supervisor. Almost all employers are required by law to have workers compensation insurance. If your injury is significant and you have to miss work, be sure to talk to your employer about their worker’s compensation policy and seek legal counsel if they tell you that they don’t have one. 

 

If you’re hurt at work, any medical treatment you need should be covered by your employer’s policy. You might also be entitled to lost wages if you have to miss work for an extended period. However, every state is a bit different, so you’ll need to check with your employer to be certain. To make sure that you’re always covered regardless of the causes of an injury or illness, it’s a good idea to consider long-term or short-term disability insurance, too. 

Keeping Safe

Being hurt is never fun. However, by implementing these simple workplace safety tips and tricks in your office, you and your co-workers will be safe and prepared. And in the unfortunate event that you are injured at work, know that you have options to ensure that the company you work will cover you. 

The Benefits of Employee Engagement

I Love My Job

Employee engagement is when employees act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests. An engaged employee is a person who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work. It is already clear, with this definition, that employee engagement is something that all the leaders would like to see in their employees, but let’s go deeper in our analysis.

Let’s look at the cost of a disengaged workforce to better understand the significance of employee engagement:

  • Effect on work: the disengaged employee tries to evade work, struggles to meet deadlines and is reluctant to accept additional responsibility.
  • Effect on co-workers: the negativity of a disengaged employee, demonstrated either through rants or complete withdrawal from participation, affects the team morale.
  • Effect on customers: every employee, whether an organization likes it or not, becomes its ambassador. And a disengaged employee either by actively de-selling the organization, or by complete apathy towards their work, product, process, organization, helps create disengaged customers.
  • Effects on productivity: disengaged employees seldom push themselves to meet organizational goals let alone contribute to innovative practices at workplace. Since they do not believe that their work contributes to the organization, they evade completing tasks thereby affecting team productivity.
  • Effect on personal life of employees: a disengaged employee is seldom able to shake off the lethargy and perform in the current organization or land a job of preference. This leads to pent up frustration which may ultimately affect his personal and family life.

Avoiding these costs should be already enough to make employee engagement a priority in any serious company, furthermore an engaged workforce will grant these benefits:

  • Employee satisfaction: if employees are engaged with the company their job satisfaction levels increase. Employees that are engaged and satisfied are very invested in the success of the business and have a high level of commitment and loyalty.
  • Productivity: engaged employees are often top performers, those committed to ‘go the extra mile’ to achieve business success. As an employee becomes more engaged their absenteeism lowers and their motivation increases leading to increased productivity.
  • Retention & recruitment: employees who are engaged significantly lower the company’s turnover. Simply put, when employees are satisfied and engaged they are far more likely to stay with the organization, plus, businesses that have a highly engaged workforce have an increased ability to attract new, qualified employees.
  • Innovation: engaged employees perform at a higher level and bring passion and interest to their job, which often leads to innovation because they strive to efficiently create new products, services and processes.
  • Profitability: companies with more engaged employees tend to have higher profitability rates. The more engaged your employees are the more efficient and productive they become, lowering operating costs and increasing the profit margin.

Clearly the organization benefits, but what about the individual? As an employee, why would you care about being more engaged if it only means you have to work harder and the company reaps all of the rewards? Fortunately, employee engagement is a win-win for the both the employee and employer. Here are a few reasons why you, as employees, should choose to be engaged in your work.

  • Safety: engaged employees have a decreased chance of experiencing an accident at work. When you are engaged in what you do you tend to follow safety procedures more diligently and don’t lose focus as often, thus leading to fewer safety incidents.
  • Better health: employees that are engaged have lower stress and higher interest levels throughout the day. Conversely, disengaged employees are more likely to be depressed than those who are engaged.
  • Happiness: employees can be happy but not fully engaged in their work, but those who are fully engaged in what they do are much more likely to also be happy.
  • Pay and advancement: engaged employees perform better than their peers.  Engaged employees not only work harder, but also work smarter and are able to produce better results. This helps them to earn higher wages, receive faster promotions, and market themselves for better career opportunities.
  • Better home life: if we are disengaged at work, it’s pretty tough to make the switch to an engaged home life. That’s why engaged employees are far more likely to be engaged outside of work as well.

One way to boost employee engagement is to foster real human contact between employees. The current most used solutions fall short as far as creating new relationships is concerned: in big events employees tend to regroup with their teammates. A really effective solution may be organising “micro-events” but for large corporates the administrative burden is often to high to bear.

Woobe makes organising a campaign of hundreds of micro-events not just possible, but even easy. The HR manager selects in few clicks the profiles and the period over which the events will take place and the invitation are automatically sent to the employees based on their agenda’s availability.

Source: The benefits of Employee Engagement – Woobe