Avoiding Office and Workplace Hazards

A desk job isn’t deadly — not even close — but it can still bring hidden dangers. Discover several ways your company’s Human Resources department can help reduce working hazards and make your office a safer place to work.

Sit up

Sitting down all day leads to a variety of health problems. The chair you sit in every day could be causing that pain in your back. The next time you sit down, pay attention to your posture. Slouching, bending forward or sitting at a straight angle causes back strain. Ideally, you should sit in your chair at a 135-degree angle. If your back hurts every time you sit down at your desk, requisition an ergonomic chair. After you get it, adjust the chair so you can sit comfortably at your desk and limit back pain.

Look out

Staring at a computer screen all day often leads to tired or blurred vision. Give your eyes a break and look away from the computer every 30 minutes. Focus on something else or close your eyes for a few moments. You can also reduce eyestrain by wearing a pair of glasses specifically designed for the distance you sit from your computer. Airborne allergens can also dry out your eyes. If you notice large amounts of airborne dust in your office, talk to the HR department about installing air cleaners in your building. Everyone will breathe better and see more clearly.

Eat right

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How many times a week do you grab vending machine chips or a candy bar and inhale it at your desk? These habits add pounds to your body and keep you feeling hungry and sluggish all afternoon. Instead, pack a healthy and balanced lunch and eat in the break room or on a bench outside. If sweet treats in the break room provide a temptation you can’t resist, petition the HR department for a desk far away from the kitchen. You can also ask them to remove unhealthy vending machines. When you make smart eating choices at work, you’re more likely to maintain your ideal weight and fuel your body with healthy foods.

Move it

Make your desk job healthier when you stand up and move throughout the day. Walk around the office, even if you just go down the hall to the restroom and back. Do jumping jacks or lunges, march in place or stretch at least once every hour. Additionally, consider removing the rollers from your chair and get up to file papers or visit coworkers. Talk with personnel in HR about hosting exercise classes. They could post exercise stations around the building, organize Zumba classes for office workers once a week or offer T’ai Cci before the workday begins. These exercise initiatives increase movement, efficiency and productivity and help you become physically healthier at work.

Make friends

You most likely won’t be best friends with everyone in the office, but relationships at work create positive feelings about your job and increase your likeability. Start by getting out of your cubicle or office. Resist using email, online chat or texting as your means of interoffice communications. Walk to a coworker’s desk when you need to discuss a memo or share paperwork. Take advantage of the break room or HR-organized social activities and get to know your coworkers on a personal level. When you build relationships, you’re more likely to succeed at a job you’ll enjoy.

Staying healthy at work can be a challenge. Start by identifying hazards and discussing them with HR. Everyone in your office will enjoy greater productivity and higher morale when the work environment is healthy.


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