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If you’re like most people across the globe, you hear about others hurting themselves at work because of falls, slips, car accidents, or other problems, and think “that won’t happen to me.” Unfortunately though, workplace injuries, particularly ones to the back and neck, are incredibly common, with more than a million people each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having to take time off from their job because of them.

While you might work in an office and feel like your risk of injury is very low, it’s important to keep in mind that you can be at risk of injury in any type of setting. If you want to keep your back and neck (and that of your team’s, if applicable), in good shape, read on for some tips you can follow today to increase safety in the workplace.

Use Ergonomic Equipment and the Right Posture

If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, one of the most important things you can do to keep your back and neck safe from harm is to use ergonomic equipment. In particular, find a desk that is the right height for you, so that you don’t have to stretch your arms or legs to work.

If possible, consider using a stand-up desk so that you don’t end up sitting for so many hours of the day; and find a good chair that is set up just for you. To be sitting in an ergonomic position, your feet should be flat on the floor. The height of the chair should ensure that your thighs can angle down slightly, with your weight on your “sitting bones,” rather than your lower back needing to be rounded and your shoulders and neck slumping forward.

When it comes to your keyboard, this also needs to be at just the right height. Position it so that when your elbows are bent at an approximately 90-degree angle, you don’t have to slump your shoulders to touch the keys. If the tray is too low, you’ll end up hunched over all the time. Your mouse should sit at the same level as the keyboard, as should a drafting pad if you use one.

To stop your chin from jutting forward, you probably need to put your monitor higher. The bottom of it should be at roughly the level of your chin (this can vary slightly depending on the size of the monitor you’re using) and ensure that you end up looking straight ahead at the screen, not down.

If your computer is a laptop, it is beneficial to have a separate monitor set up on your desk that you can use to look at, rather than the smaller, and lower, screen. Also, try to avoid spending lots of time answering emails or doing other work on cellphones and tablets. Always make sure the monitor you’re looking at is centered too, so that you’re not ending up with your head slightly off-center for hours at a time.

Don’t forget too, that you need to take regular breaks so that your neck and back can have a chance to rest. This doesn’t just refer to people sitting at a desk, but also those using vibrational equipment, working with their arms out or above their heads, bending over frequently, and the like. Take time out to stretch your body, blink, and move about.

Keep Workspaces Clean, Tidy, Dry, and Free of Hazards

It is also important to note that many people hurt their back or neck at work because they slip, fall, or because a heavy item falls on them. To stop this from happening, you must do everything you can to keep workspaces clean, tidy, dry, and free of hazards. If spills ever occur, or sticky substances land on the floor, make sure you mop them up straight away so that they don’t cause people to slip. Put up a sign warning people of wet floor surfaces, too.

You should take a look around at your workspace to see what hazards are on the floor that could cause people to trip or fall. Keep an eye out for things like boxes, pets, stacks of books, and the like. As well, ensure that all items which are stored above people’s heads are secure, so that they don’t fall down and hit people.

If large, heavy, or bulky items need to be moved, don’t try to do so by yourself. This is a very common reason why people end up with strained or sore muscles and tendons in their back and neck. Instead, engage the assistance of a co-worker, or utilize aids such as forklifts and wheelbarrows. As well, be wary of lifting or carrying items in cramped spaces or anywhere where you find you have to twist or contort yourself, as this can cause damage.

What to Do If You Get a Workplace Injury

If you hurt your back or neck on the job, make sure you record the circumstances of your injury. Note down when and where it happened, any witnesses to the event, and what harm came to you. Also keep a record of visits to doctors and test results.

You may want to consider seeking legal representation so that you can put in a compensation claim to your employer. If so, choose apersonal injury experts, such as these Houston injury attorneys, so that you receive the best advice possible.



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