It can be challenging to protect your body while working in contaminated or hazardous conditions, but your body is your most valuable asset. To protect it properly, consider these tips.
Use Protective Equipment
Whether you’re exposed to contagious diseases, industrial chemicals, or heavy machinery, be sure to take ample precautions to protect your body. Wear gear that properly meets the needs of the job — for example, tight-fitting clothing that won’t snag on moving parts, respiratory protection around airborne contaminants, or masks and gloves when disease-causing agents may be present. Consider how these different types of equipment must be used for optimal protection (for example, gloves should only be used in conjunction with adequate handwashing techniques, never as a substitute for them). Proper protective equipment goes a long way in preventing injury or illness.
Avoid Unnecessary Risks
At times, it may be tempting to take risky actions, such as using your hands to “help” a slow load along moving machinery, inadequately securing a harness because of inconvenience or time constraints, or taking care of a task without respiratory equipment because of the time it takes to don the protective gear. However, this could put you at risk for bodily injury, acute or long-term exposure illness (such as pleural mesothelioma from asbestos exposure), or contracting a contagious disease. While you might think, “it’s just this once,” it only takes one time without protective equipment to sustain an injury or illness — and even if no harm is done one time, you may form bad habits that ultimately put you at higher risk. Never let laziness or a rushed pace prevent you from following your workplace’s procedures for protecting yourself and others.
Proper self-care yields huge dividends when it comes to keeping your body safe at work. Adequate nutrition and hydration keep your body fueled and help it eliminate waste throughout the day. Healthy sleep habits will keep you alert and able to make safe decisions in the workplace. Regular exercise will keep your body strong and stamina high to ensure you have the energy to make it through your workday. Appropriate work/life balance and recreation will keep your stress levels manageable. If you struggle to maintain balance in any of these areas, be sure to see a trained professional who can help you make things right.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to taking care of your body at work, this saying couldn’t be more accurate. Consider what actions you can take today to keep your body safe.