The Coronavirus has been plaguing the U.S. for a few weeks now and many of us have been provided with the luxury of working from our own respective corners. However, not everyone has been so lucky. In fact, many businesses are struggling to find ways to compensate their employees, or allow them to work remotely when business doesn’t typically allow. Therefore, you might find yourself still going to work everyday amidst a pandemic. So, what steps can you take to protect yourself? Every job is different, as are the levels of exposure you face. But, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself when your employer might not be able to.
Coronavirus: Protection in the Workplace
Keeping your distance
The first, and most obvious, step in reducing risk of Coronavirus is to place distance between employees. For example, if you are working in an open office, maintain the 6 foot distancing from each employee that has been suggested by the CDC. Furthermore, as an employer, consider reducing the number of staff you have working in the office. There are likely duties that can be performed remotely. Whether it be answering phones, taking reservations or replying to emails— allow someone to take that responsibility home. The key during this difficult times is to find ways own which you can still utilize, and therefore pay, your employees.
Second of all, cleanings are vital for reducing the risk of spread. While this is a step you should always take within the work space, this is a time to pay extra mind to doing so. You might have someone who does weekly cleanings on a regular basis, but during the Coronavirus outbreak— consider nightly cleanings. Doorknobs, coffee pots, desk spaces, bathrooms… High-traffic areas are at the highest risk. When you are forced to keep people working, sanitized spaces can go a long way in terms of keeping your employees safe and healthy.
Reducing Non-Essential Staff
A key to creating that distance we discussed is to reduce non-essential staff within the workplace. Whether they are working from home or on leave— reducing risk of coronavirus comes down to reducing human contact. Furthermore, if you are able to eliminate contact altogether while still paying your staff— this is the ultimate goal. Not to mention, your higher risk staff should be a priority at this time. Whether they are older, immunocompromised, or fall into the other risk categories— as an employer, you have an ethical responsibility to your workers.
At the end of the day, the Coronavirus has put both employees and employers into a tough situation. As employers, we want to be able to do right by our employees both financially and in keeping them safe. As employees, we want the same thing but it is a little more uncertain from our end. For now, the best thing we can do is to plan our budget and to be mindful of how often we venture out of the house.
Depending on your job, You might find yourself having to lift and move objects during your shift. That means it’s especially important to know what the proper lifting techniques are. Not lifting properly could cause some problems for you now and in the future…
Proper Lifting: Keep Your Body Safe
Know your body’s limits
Even if you consider yourself to be pretty strong, everyone has their limits. Trying to work past these limits could open you up to an increased injury risk. That’s why proper lifting practices means knowing these limits and working around them.
The recommended maximum weight for a person to carry solo is about 50 pounds. Anything weighing more than this should be approached differently. For example, you can ask for some help from another co-worker. You can also make use of tools like forklifts, carts, or hand trucks to move those heavier items without straining yourself.
Technique is key
It’s also important to practice proper lifting techniques. Improper lifting techniques tend to be a major source of lifting-related injuries. The most common of these are back injuries and pain, which one-half of all working Americans have claimed to experience.
When lifting a heavy object, use your legs to lift instead of your back. This will help reduce the strain on your back. Lift straight up, and try to keep the object close at about the mid-chest level. Avoid twisting while lifting too, as this could shift the weight onto your sides and back.
Not only should you watch how you lift, but also how often you’re lifting. Constantly lifting and moving heavy objects can increase your injury risks even if you’re using proper lifting techniques. That’s why an important part of proper lifting is knowing when to take breaks.
Try to break your work into shorter segments rather than doing it all in one go. That will help your muscles not get fatigued as quickly. Also, try to rotate tasks between yourself and other employees, so you all are able to get a break in-between tasks. Once you’re able to take a break, try to do some stretches to keep your muscles loose so they won’t tense up once you get back to work.
Many times, an injury is not as simple as one bruise on one arm. An injury can any part of the body, all which need documentation— no matter how small . Documenting injuries is an important step in your worker’s comp case because it will help your case. Because insurance companies are reluctant to make pay outs and cover charges, this documentation will be important during all parts of your case.
Documenting Injuries: Why It Matters
What to Document
You should be documenting injuries relating to your workplace incident. For example, let’s say you fell at work and used your arms to break your fall. The main injury might be your knee with scratches covering it. What you might not see is the shoulder or elbow pain you are suffering because your arms helped cushion your fall. Then, after you document the injury, and make sense of the situation, it can add context to how your arms might hurt as a result of the injury.
When to Document It
Documenting all relative injuries as soon as they happen is imperative to a successful worker’s compensation case. You should have a discussion with your doctor about your injuries. Documenting injuries does not have to be a formal, long-form write up. You can simply tell your doctor you’ve had some pain in that area. You can also document it in your pain journal. For most major injuries, reports should be made within a few days of the accident.
Why It Matters
An accurate injury report from a doctor or the emergency room will be your best friend in a worker’s compensation case. Make sure all details are included, no detail is too small. Sometimes, insurance companies will try to use missed details or incorrect information to discredit the incident. You can make sure this does not happen by documenting injuries personally and fact-checking doctor’s reports.
To conclude: no injury or pain is too small to document. When documenting injuries, make sure you are including all relevant information. Sometimes, even things you might think are irrelevant can be helpful to your case. Bruises, cuts, and small swelling that you believe will just heal with time are still important to include in your injury documentation.
Workers in many different fields like to make use of personal headphones. This lets them listen to things like music and can help pass the time. However, they might not be a safe option depending on your job. It’s important to know when wearing these headphones might become a risk to your safety…
Personal Headphones: Risk vs. Reward
Limiting outside noise
Personal headphones can help you block out any outside noise or distractions. This can help when it comes to focusing more on the work you’re doing. However, it could also mean you don’t hear important audio cues around you. This could lead to you accidentally getting hurt because you were unaware of what was happening around you.
Headphones can also have a small noise-cancelling effect on their own. This can lead some to think that they can be used in-place of special noise-reducing headphones or earplugs. However, this is actually not the case. OSHA notes that these headphones aren’t as effective as specialty ones.
Snags and tangles
Another issue with personal headphones is the chance of them catching or snagging on something. This can already be annoying when it happens outside the workplace. However, it could also be quite dangerous when you’re working.
For example, if you have to do a lot of moving around at your job, then your headphones could easily catch on something. This is especially true if your work involves any kind of machinery. Overall, it’s not worth the added risk to wear headphones when doing this kind of work where you want to be as safe as possible.
It isn’t a bad idea to wear personal headphones at every workplace, however. It mainly depends on the job you’re doing. If you work in a more desk/office-type of job, then you might be able to wear headphones depending on your workplace rules. Compared to other office safety risks, headphones probably won’t be to much of a hazard.
Here, headphones can be especially helpful if you have a hearing problem. They can help you hear a bit better if you have to make phone calls or listen to audio. They can also help if you have something like tinnitus. Having something like music or soft noise playing can help those with tinnitus keep their mind off of the ringing.
Recovering from an injury can be a lengthy process. It’s not uncommon to face feelings of stress and anxiety during difficult times. However, there are ways to stay positive and keep up healthy recovery behavior as you move past a work injury. Here are a few tips for keeping your spirits up while your recover…
Healthy Recovery Behavior: Making Positive Changes
Balance your diet
Choosing the right things to eat is a major part of healthy recovery behavior. Eating the right foods will help you recover faster than eating poorly. You’ll want to try and eat foods that are rich in vitamins and protein. Vitamins (like A, B, C, and D) and other nutrients like calcium, zinc, and copper promote tissue growth and immune system strength.
Make sure you’re also eating enough food as well. As you’re recovering, you won’t need as many calories as when you were working. However, cutting your intake by too much can impede your recovery. Your body uses more energy during the early stages of injury for repairs, so make sure to still eat enough to help your body along.
Stick to the plan
After your injury, your doctor will help you come up with a treatment plan. Healthy recovery behavior means sticking to this plan even when you might want to take a day off. Stick to your physical therapy visits or at-home exercise routines. Putting them off will just make your recovery last longer than it should. Following their plan will help you recover quickly and properly.
Set recovery goals
Sometimes, it can feel like you’re stuck during your recovery. You’ll feel like you’re doing all the right things, but not seeing improvement. Writing down goals for your recovery is a good way to keep yourself motivated during your recovery. Setting realistic goals for yourself gives you something to work towards and will show you’re really making progress.
Get some rest
Being well-rested is another large part of healthy recovery behavior. Poor sleep can leave you fatigued and unfocused, causing you to not recover as well as you should be. You might be tempted to try and push yourself through your recovery, but that’ll do you more harm than good in the long run.
Keeping a positive mindset is the biggest thing when it comes to recovering from an injury. If your mind is in the right place, then you’ll recover faster than you might’ve originally expected.
When it comes to talking to your doctor, you should be honest. In all scenarios regarding your health, honesty is the best policy. But what about during a worker’s compensation case? After an injury, your patient to doctor communication about your injuries should be completely honest. It’s important to paint a clear picture of what happened. Keep in mind, though, this description will not only be heard by your doctor. Your medical records can go under review by lawyers, insurance companies, and judges.
Doctor Communication: Rules to Go By
There is a connection between all parts of the body. Nothing is separate or its own entity. If you are having problems with your knees after an injury mainly regarding your back, tell your doctor. He or she can decide if there is a relation to your worker’s compensation case injury or not. Doctor communication should be thorough and full of details.
Know what you want to tell your doctor before going in. It might be useful to write down some small details so you don’t forget. Keep in mind that you should make the most of the doctor communication you have. It could be some time before you get back to see that specific doctor.
Being friendly to office staff, doctors, and nurses will get you further than being rude. Your doctor communication should come across as serious but friendly. Nurses and doctors will be more willing to listen and help if you aren’t rude. Remember that they didn’t get you in this position and are simply trying to help.
You should be honest with your doctor about any pre-existing conditions or medications you are taking. It could save your life because the way some medications interact with each other could kill you. Doctor communication is mostly private, so you should not feel embarrassed or afraid to confide in them.
When it comes to healing after an injury, honesty is the best policy. You should avoid saying things like “I’m fine” if that’s not completely true. Your doctor communication does not only have to be about how good you are feeling; it can be about how bad you are feeling, too.