HeSaidSheSaidPH | Work and Health: Staying Safe in the Workplace | We depend on our work on many levels: a good job gives us satisfaction, provides us with meaning and focus in life and allows us to have a steady income. The money we make at work allows us to maintain our standard of living, while good employment often boosts our self-image and self-esteem. However, not everything is so positive. Work can affect our health, both physical and mental, and cause a lot of stress triggered by dissatisfaction, discrimination or dangerous work conditions. So what do we know about work and health and how can we stay safer in the workplace?
Most common health problems in the workplace
In order to stay safe in the workplace, it is important to know what kind of health issues you might risk every day. Diseases such as chronic respiratory issues, hearing loss due to loud noise and various musculoskeletal disorders are all very common occupational diseases. Various noncommunicable diseases (cancer, bronchitis and asthma caused by pollution or radiation), cardiovascular diseases and depression caused by stress all result in absence from work.
Stress is a real issue
Most common causes of stress at work are long hours, short deadlines, job insecurity and unhealthy relationships with coworkers and bosses. All of these aforementioned issues also lead to loss of productivity and an increase in absenteeism, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to treat stress as a real issue and do the most to solve it. One way to tackle stress is to encourage workers to have a better work-life balance. Paying the same amount of attention to work life, family life, social life and personal interests can minimize work-related stress and improve the general health of every worker.
Workplace violence mustn’t be neglected
Violence in the workplace is not a simple conflict—it’s a conflict that turned into a physical, emotional or psychological attack. The violence of this kind involves everything from threats and insults to sexual harassment and physical contact. Both employers and coworkers can be the perpetrators of these attacks. Workplace violence can result in lasting psychological damage, increased levels of stress and long-term physical consequences, so it needs to be taken very seriously.
Get real professional help in case of injury
In case you get hurt in the workplace or suffer from a work-related medical condition, make sure to see professionals as soon as you can. You can turn to your doctor, career counselor, psychologist, manager, HR manager or even your union. All of them can offer good advice on how to continue your employment safely. Additionally, most workers know they are entitled to compensation in case they get injured at work, but not many of them choose to take this step. Why is that? Well, people just don’t know where to start. However, all you need to do is contact an experienced compensation lawyer and you’ll go over your options together. They study your superannuation policy and tell you which insurance benefits you can claim.
Good health coverage is important
Work-related health issues cause a huge economic loss for many countries (between 4 and 6% of GDP). The sad thing is that the majority of workers does not have insurance that will compensate them in case they get injured. With universal health coverage, we could provide people access to services that will result in good health and good financial protection that will prevent poverty-related health issues.
Prevention is the key
Various interventions can help prevent workplace-related diseases. Solving pollution sources, proper ventilation, noise control, elimination of dangerous chemicals, ergonomic furniture and better work organization can all allow employees to work in a safer and healthier environment.
Even though health-related absence and compensations cost companies millions of dollars every year, some still neglect workers’ health and safety. Hopefully, this will change in the upcoming years and we will all be happier and healthier at work.