We should all be aware of the fact that our employer is, in large part, responsible for our well-being at work. If there’s a risk that they could have protected us from and they failed to, then they are to be held responsible. But it’s not all about the fires that break out and the slipping hazards that people fall prey to. If you’re concerned that your workplace is somehow affecting your health, consider some of the more invisible dangers:
Know When Stress Gets Unhealthy: We’ll start with one of the most common risks of any workplace. Stress, some would say, is a natural part of working life. You have to be able to cope under pressure. That’s not to be disputed. However, that doesn’t mean that employers have carte blanche to overload you with environmental factors that can push stress into unreasonable levels. Employers need to be aware of the effects that too much overtime, too many regular night shifts, traumatic workplace events, and overcrowded workloads can have on the employee. Make no mistake. Your mental well-being is also their responsibility, not just the physical.
Beware of Older Environments: The actual building that you’re working in can sometimes be a danger all in itself, especially if you’re working in an older building. The risk is fast disappearing from the world, but asbestos can still be found in many properties and is a cause of a particularly dangerous form of cancer. It’s why you should select only the best attorney to represent cases involving mesothelioma. But it’s best to have your employer perform a thorough check on the property if you’re concerned with the age of it, first. Lead paint is another hallmark of older buildings that still hasn’t been completely eradicated.
Get Up and Move: This is partly on you, of course, but if you’re working in a job that involves sitting at a desk or standing at a counter for most of the day, you need to be aware of the risks it poses to your posture, back, and joints. Repetitive strain injury and back pain are not uncommon and can have lifelong repercussions. Sitting is becoming the new smoking, as they say. But you can work to fight against the effects. For instance, ask your employer to give you more opportunities to get up. You should spend five minutes every hour, at least, in a different posture and you can use that time to do errands for the office. But there are also furniture choices such as ergonomic chairs or adjustable desks that allow for sitting or standing that you could ask your employer to acquire.
A Breath of Fresh Air: The indoor air quality of a lot of businesses is not acceptable. When it gets visible to the point that you can see dust bunnies often in the air or a buildup of debris around the ventilation, demand an air quality test from the employer. Failing to consider the air you breathe can lead to breathing conditions like asthma or cause attacks in those who already suffer from them.
There are a lot of ways that your employer can ensure that any risk of the workplace is being dealt with. However, you shouldn’t always assume that they haven’t done so out of laziness or greed. Talk to them about your concerns and ask them to act on it. If they fail to, then that’s when you should consider getting legal involvement.
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