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On-the-job injuries are more common in the public sector than one may think. According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2014 Edition, an astounding 1.04 million government workers reported work-related injuries in 2012. Sadly, 305 more were killed on the job.

Some workplace health and safety hazards can be avoided with simple prevention and planning. For steps your government agency can take to keep its employees safe, keep reading.

Promoting on-the-job safety

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are three common workplace hazards and ways to avoid them:

  1. Illness: A common workplace hazard is communicable disease and illness. What’s more, a recent Gallup® and Healthways study estimates that missing work due to illness is costing the U.S. economy $84 billion each year. Unfortunately, many of us work in a culture where staying home sick is frowned upon; however, the fact remains that dangerous illnesses, such as the flu, are easily spread from one person to another.Guidelines similar to those followed in schools can help prevent flu pandemics at work, too. For instance, providing easy access to tissues, soap and water, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers or sprays can help stop germs in their tracks. Sick employees should be sent home and kept there until they are feeling well and are without a fever for at least 24 hours. If possible, provide employees who feel well enough to work but are still contagious with home access to work email and VoIP to keep productivity up and sick days down.
  2. Ergonomic injuries: According to a report produced by the AFL-CIO, ergonomic hazards account for 34.7 percent of workplace injuries. These types of injuries are often seen in those who work in office settings, whether from sitting at uncomfortable workstations or from simply sitting for too long. There are many simple fixes to some of the more commonly seen ergonomic problems. Mayo Clinic has a helpful online how-to guide for proper office ergonomics. It includes simple steps organizations can apply today, such as promoting proper body posture, strategically placing key objects (such as a mouse, stapler or telephone) to prevent excessive stretching, and using a keyboard rest to reduce stress on the wrists.WebMD recommends a series of desk exercises to ease aches and joint stress experienced by those performing long hours of repetitive deskwork. A Keyboard Guide can help serve as a stretching reminder while providing a visual demonstration of exercises that can be performed on the job.
  3. Automobile accidents: Those whose jobs involve a lot of driving and road time are at an increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Being overworked, sleep deprived and using a cell phone while driving are contributors to this risk. Remind your frequent drivers of the importance of not texting and driving, using hands-free devices and pulling over to rest when tired. Imprint your safety message on Auto Air Vent Fresheners to serve as a visible reminder of your “safety first” policy.

Remember, keeping employees safe at work is a must. These simple tips can help keep employees healthy, counter disease and reduce the risk of harm and serious injury. Stay safe!


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