It is important to consider that sprains and strains rarely occur at work exclusively because of performing work tasks. In many, if not all cases, it is the sum of what people do in and out of work time. Those of you who have read the first two editions of ‘Talking Health’ will probably know where this piece is heading.
That’s right, it’s going straight for the jugular of health and lifestyle. Let’s take a moment to explore lifestyle factors that can and often do contribute to people getting injured at work.
We’ll start with - yes, this may challenge the great Aussie culture - alcohol consumption. Doctor’s often tell their patients that it’s ok to have two or three glasses of wine or beer every night. This is a great concern when we take into account the incidence of obesity and depression in our country. Alcohol is a known depressant, it attacks the brain and places vital organs such as the liver and kidneys under immense, unwanted pressure. Food such as chips, dips and cheeses generally go hand in hand with alcohol consumption and it is rare that a person has a couple of wines, then heads out for a run.
At work it is vital that staff remain ‘switched on’ at all times, get to work feeling refreshed and ready to go, perform critical tasks with energy and purpose, and focus on the safety of themselves and other members of their team. Unfortunately, regular alcohol use makes all of that very difficult.
Another major reason why people suffer injuries in the workplace is a lack of exercise. There are very few jobs that could be considered a form of ‘exercise.’ Many jobs leave staff with a degree of ‘health’ but not sufficient ‘fitness.’ Exercise is when a person’s heart rate is at or around 130 beats per minute for a minimum of 20 minutes. How often do you or your staff do that?
There is no doubt that nutrition plays a vital role in either reducing or increasing the risk of workplace injuries and incidents as well. What staff choose to eat and drink is paramount to endurance, mood, body weight, lethargy, complacency and the ability of their body to function at a level required to perform critical tasks on a day to day basis.
Staff with on-going personal issues, be it relationships with others or themselves, are more likely to have complacent moments at work, lose concentration, not look out for safety and perform critical tasks in a somewhat careless manner. Their mind is often not ‘on task.’ In that sense, it is important that everyone in your business
knows about their employee assistance program, including how to use it and that it is absolutely confidential.
In a nutshell, it’s time for us all to do what it takes to be ‘fi t for life and fit for work.’ Read this edition again, take it in, contemplate what it means to you and your team at work, and dare to change.
Until next time, good luck and good health. Matthew Beechey, on behalf of Eaton.
Written by Matthew Beechey, Director of R&R Corporate Health and acclaimed industry health and wellbeing expert.