Workplace Health and Safety: keeping it simple

Workplace Health and Safety: keeping it simple

Workplace Health and Safety: keeping it simple

Pain and discomfort in the workplace are serious problems that cost billions in both lost productivity and pain management.[i]

Feeling great or rotten at work has everything to do with your body.

Seeing your workspace through your body’s eyes is a revelation of how easy it is to abuse (yes abuse – as it hurts!) yourself in the way you stand, step, sit and move through your working day.

Your body lets you know instantly if something is supportive (feels good) or a strain (feels uncomfortable).

If you slump, slouch, strain and pressure your body through the day, you force your body out of its very natural alignment, and not only does this compromise circulation, respiration, musculoskeletal and digestion systems, it affects mood, productivity and your care factor at work. As examples, try feeling focussed when you race around bumping into things, or rush your work, or slouch in your chair, or when you have rounded shoulders as you walk around.

We often wait for discomfort or pain to motivate us to take an interest in our body at work and in life.

Our body is not just a means of carrying our head from A to B, it is a reservoir of intelligence of which the brain is but a part in a symphony of organs, tissues, bones and muscles that transmit consciousness rather like a radio tower – when supported and aligned all transmissions and communication flow easily from top to toe, but when that tower is slumped, twisted, swaying around or obstructed, transmissions can’t flow, compromising all activity and outcomes.

If you’ve had a great day, chances are your body has been taken care of in some way during that day. It’s easy to under appreciate that when we repetitively race, drag, slump, slouch, strain and pressure our body, we force it out of its natural alignment and flow, and this has an enormous effect on us in and out of the workplace.

It is worthwhile building a relationship with your body – and paying attention to how it feels.

Workplace health and safety begins with the way you care for and move your body when you are working.

Take a moment to do a workplace health and safety checkup from your body’s point of view:

  • Sitting: does your chair support you to sit poised, or are you slumped? If not, can you adjust it, or possibly arrange for a chair that supports your body.

  • Standing: do your shoes support you? If not, get some that do! Having lovely high heels for the ladies or pointed toes for the men may look good, but ultimately may be causing you pain. Choose shoes that support you in your job. Is the surface you stand on hard or cushioned? If you are standing up all day this can make a huge difference. Find shoes that support you no matter what surface you are standing on.

  • Workspace: do you need to stretch to pick up the phone, access a file, find a pen, a hammer, a bowl, use a keyboard or mouse, or are they all in easy reach? Rearrange your workspace to support your body and not the other way around.

  • Lighting: do you need to strain to see properly or is the lighting sufficient? If not, work with your employer (or yourself) to get the lighting you need. Often a desk lamp is a great alternative for those in an office.

  • Equipment: is the height of the computer screen or equipment you are working with comfortable for your neck and shoulders, or do you put pressure on them by slumping or straining to maintain a position you are not aware of being in until you register discomfort or pain? Again, rearrange where possible to support you. Many employers will support you with desks that change height and these can be a great option.

  • Movement: when you move around is your body supple and flowing, or have you been holding it tight in a sitting or standing position that leads it to be creaky and stuck when you go to move? Remember to stand up (if you are sitting down for work), or sit down (if you are standing up for work). Remember to move regularly throughout the day and where practical take the stairs.

  • Agility: does taking the stairs leave you out of breath? another, bumping into things or dropping things as you go? Take notice of your body and support yourself to be fit at work with how you live, move, rest and take care of your body outside work.

  • Temperature: Are you too cold or too hot in your workspace and what effect does that have on your body, i.e. are you hunched to keep warm, or droopy from the heat? Dress well for whatever environment you are in regardless of the temperature of the workplace.

All these elements showcase how the way we ‘hold’ and move ourselves at work impacts our productivity, wellbeing and enjoyment (both at work and in life). Making small adjustments at work is just the beginning of where you can go with self-care at work. You may even find that the more care you introduce, the better you feel, and the more you enjoy your work.

Workplace Health and Safety begins with your relationship with your most valuable work tool – your body!

"Our true mind is actually our whole body, not just our brain."

Serge Benhayon 2015

References

  • [i]

    Safe Work Australia. (2017). Cost of injury and illness by type. [online] Available at: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/cost-injury-and-illness/cost-injury-and-illness-type</a>

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Self-careWell-beingWork stressVitalityHealthy living

  • By Adrienne Hutchins

    I’ve always been interested in understanding the underlying cause and effect behind what we experience in life and for this the heart is the greatest teacher any student could have.