What To Do When Work Is Working Against Your Health
Workplace injuries and illnesses are not new concepts by any stretch of the imagination. Accidents happen often and in some industries, the risk factors are much higher. But it’s not a situation that you should simply accept. Your employer has a responsibility to do all they can to battle those risks, after all. If you think that’s not happening, what do you do?
Making positive changes
In every workplace, there are little health factors that can build up over time to contribute to serious issues. In a lot of cases, this is due to the repetitive or sedentary nature of the job. If you’re in an office, for instance, then poor furniture and ergonomics can lead to back pain, RSI, and more. Talk to your boss about taking breaks more regularly from the desk or getting yourself a standing desk or an ergonomic chair. Their failure to help provide them can make them liable for damage done by harmful work conditions.
Talking about risk
It can be hard to stand up and talk to your boss about your rights in just about any field. However, you are protected legally from any reprisals about bringing up serious concerns. But how do you talk about safety concerns in a way that’s more likely to be effective? Try not to put them on the spot, but address them privately beforehand. If you’re worried a piece of machinery is proving a danger or that you don’t have the necessary protective equipment, be polite and respectful and speak out of concern for the safety of the team. Doing a little research on the possible solutions can help you frame the conversation more as a suggestion than an accusation, too.
Serious exposure concerns
There are a lot of times that employers have failed to take into account how exposure to certain elements of the workplace might have serious health implications for employees. If this has happened to you, the law is on your side. The rise of the successful benzene lawsuit in manufacturing environments shows the possibility of seeking proper compensation for serious illness. Being aware of the different contaminants involved in your industry can help you talk to the boss about preventing any exposure to them.
The emotional impact of work
It might be more daunting to talk about mental health and find the right language from it, but your boss also has a responsibility for how the workplace affects your mental health. While it’s helpful to find ways to look after yourself at a stressful job, you should be talking about the elements that heighten that stress. Employers aren’t always aware of when their demands are unreasonable and causing undue mental strain to their team.
Whenever you talk to employers about a health risk at work, you should document it. In the event that it goes unchecked and then leads to an accident, injury, or illness, you have the proof you need that they were negligent. When it comes to your health, you should always be prepared to stand up for yourself.