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In the workplace, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a busy day. But it’s important to make sure you aren’t being exposed to anything that could be harmful to your health. Here are some tips for avoiding working in harmful working conditions:
1. Arrange your workstation so it's ergonomically safe for you
Ergonomic safety means preventing injuries from overexertion at work by creating a comfortable environment for workers to perform their tasks effectively and efficiently without causing muscle strain or fatigue. You need proper lighting, ventilation, and temperature control at work so that you'll feel relaxed enough during work hours and have the energy to finish all your tasks on time without being distracted by factors like loud noise coming from machines or other people talking loudly.
2. Look out for illegal substances
If your office has illegal drugs or other substances on site, there is always a risk of exposure. Check with your employer about their policies and procedures for handling these issues, and make sure you know what to do if you suspect someone is using drugs or alcohol at work. Some employers may try to use illegal substances to keep their employees working longer hours or to make them work faster. Drugs are known to increase alertness, energy, and endurance in the short term. However, they can also have harmful effects on your health in the long run.
3. Stay away from unsafe equipment and machinery
When you see something that could cause injury or death — such as broken equipment or machinery — speak up immediately. Your employer should fix the problem as soon as possible. If you're assigned a task that you feel is unsafe, try to get reassigned. If your boss won't reassign you, take a few minutes to explain why the task is unsafe and ask if there's another way to do it without having to do the dangerous part. If there isn't another way, ask if there's any other way for you to be involved in the task without having to do the dangerous parts of it. If they don’t, report it to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
4. Watch out for chemicals
Chemicals used in factories can be dangerous to your health. If you work with chemicals, make sure that you know what they are and how to use them safely. Your employer should give you training on how to handle the chemicals safely, but if they don't, ask someone from your union or an expert outside of work who can help you learn about handling the chemicals. If there is an accident where people are hurt or killed by chemicals, the government may investigate and make changes to safety rules for everyone who works with those chemicals. Also, while you search for a new job make sure to search for job sites with asbestos in order to reduce any chance of exposure. Long-term exposure to asbestos fibers can cause breathing problems and other health issues. You should make sure employers are following strict procedures to avoid any damage to your health.
5. Wear protective clothing
If your job has you working with chemicals, wear clothing that can protect you from spills and splashes. This may include gloves, goggles, and aprons. Make sure these items fit properly so they don't come off during work and expose your skin to the chemicals. If possible, wash them at the end of each day before reusing them.
6. Keep your personal items private
If your employer allows you access to company equipment, don’t leave any personal items lying around where anyone could find them. This includes things like passwords and private photos of friends or family members. Not only does this keep your personal information safe from prying eyes, but it also protects your privacy as well as others who may not want their personal lives shared with coworkers or supervisors.
7. Take breaks when needed
Exhaustion and stress can lead to poor judgment, mistakes, and accidents. If you feel like your job is making you sick, take a break from time to time and get some fresh air or exercise outside of work hours. Some workplaces have policies that require regular breaks and meal times — make sure yours does!
There really is no reason to ever put yourself in a situation where you are at risk. No one should ever feel like they are risking their health for a paycheck. If you find yourself in such an environment, you should do whatever you can to get out of it as soon as possible.