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2 Simple Ways to Improve Health & Safety at Work

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on October 5, 2020 at 4:42 PM

When we talk about health & safety at work, we devote a lot of attention to the big hitters like machine safety or safety regulations. But the truth is, safety often comes down to the smallest details.

The good news? The small details are often areas where workers can improve the most – and areas where it’s easy for them to carry simple safety tips to use every single day.

Remember, health & safety at work isn’t necessarily an Olympic tryout. Most of the time, it’s a matter of simply paying attention. Here are two simple but surprisingly effective ways to improve health & safety at work.

Take Regular Breaks

One of the most preached and least-utilized tactics for improving health & safety at work is also the simplest to implement: take regular breaks. Get up from your desk, step away from your task, take a walk, stretch. Whatever your break looks like, taking one is an essential chance to hit reset.

Movement breaks, for example, have long been shown to improve physical and emotional health. Even a five-minute break from sitting still all day can help get your blood moving and counteract the negative effects of sitting all day.

Breaks can also help prevent decision fatigue, i.e. wearing down your willpower and reasoning through all-day decision-making. Don’t believe it? Just look at this famous study of judges, which found that the judges were more likely to grant parole after their two daily breaks. By comparison, as daily fatigue set in, judges dropped steadily toward a 0% parole rate simply because they resorted to the easiest and safest option.

Maintain Good Posture

Remember when your Mom used to say that if you stay hunched over long enough, you’ll get stuck that way? Turns out, Mom was right – and it has incredibly detrimental consequences for your health.

Poor posture (sitting or standing) directly contributes to:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Poor circulation
  • Reduced lung function
  • Constricted nerves
  • Poor digestion
  • Curvature of the spine
  • Misalignment of the spine
  • Headache and jaw pain

The human body was made to maintain a certain position for optimal function. When you’re out of alignment, it forces your muscles to strain to work harder than they need to, with surprising consequences.

Take lung function, for example. Try a short breathing exercise: hunch over and try to take a deep breath in, then sit upright with your shoulders over your hips and try to take a deep breath again. When you’re hunched over, you’re literally crunching down on your lungs, reducing your ability to breathe deeply.

The good news? This problem is easily fixed if you remember to sit and stand upright. If back strength and flexibility are preventing you from fully aligned posture, here are some good posture exercises to loosen your spine and help you get back to proper alignment (while building the muscle strength to hold yourself upright without effort).

Health & Safety at Work Down to the Smallest Details

We know that health & safety at work is all too often shaped by the neglected minor details. That’s why we’re here to remind your EHS team of the little things you might otherwise overlook.

Make sure to check out our blog for more great safety tips you might not otherwise think about, like these underappreciated safety issues you can’t afford to ignore.

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Safety Tips, Safety Management, Safety Culture, Professional Development

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