For most of us, work is a means to an end. We work to live, not the reverse. Our hard earned pay is channeled into creating a lifestyle for ourselves and our families.
With this in mind, we expect our workplaces to be designed to keep us safe. Unfortunately, a number of industries are plagued with a greater share of workplace injuries than others. Labourers and workers in healthcare, have over double their share of work related injuries. This is especially so for those labourers within the transport, storage and manufacturing industries.
According to Safe Work Australia, approximately one in five serious claims involve injury to the back and one quarter of serious claims require at least twelve weeks off work. With this in mind, employers need to be implementing safety strategies to protect workers and promote workplace wellbeing.
Thankfully, there are a number of innovative safety solutions available on the market, designed to keep workers fit, well and able to enjoy their precious time away from work.
Back to basics – lightening the load
With so many serious workplace injuries involving workers backs, something urgently needed to be done.
One such area of innovation is lifting systems for employees whose environment is concentrated around loading and unloading pallets. These range of lifters are a marvellous boon to protecting workers involved in warehouse, waste management, factories and related environments.
An excellent example of a lifter which can handle loads up to 2000 kg is the Palift.
Palift is one of the best ways to save workers backs as it automatically keeps the pallet or stillage load at the optimum working height when loading or unloading goods. It has a dramatic impact on reducing the effort required to shift stock. This results in Increases in productivity of up to 40% which directly correlates to higher efficiency, lower labour costs and less lost working hours due to injury.
A pain in the neck
The sit / stand desk is a must for any office worker with chronic back problems. Electric or manual lift desks have numerous health and productivity benefits due to the fact that workers are not in a sedentary position for long periods of time. Being in a standing position translates to:
- Higher activity levels, thus;
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Less risk of heart attack
- Substantially less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease
Sitting for extended periods – longer than an hour has been shown to induce changes in:
- lipoprotein lipase activity
- glucose metabolism
- related to heart disease risks.
Patient care – carer chair
The Healthcare industry is Australia’s largest employer.
A surprising and disturbing statistic is that nurses and orderlies suffer more back related injuries than labourers. This is especially the case when dealing with bariatric patients and those with limited mobility such as the aged.
Smart Seating’s Revolution chair is an amazing advancement in the way elderly patients are being moved, especially in a dining room setting. The Revolution chair was designed to:
- swivel – to allow patients to sit directly into the chair; then
- rotated – to face toward the table
- Slide – with the legs stationary, the chair then glides forward until the patient is in the correct position for eating
This means that carers no longer have to move the chair with the patient seated in it, which has been the only previous method available to seat patients at a table.
Lifting the load
Further innovative patient transport systems can be found at Healthcare Lifting Specialists who carry a range of lifting solutions like:
- Bariatric lifters
- Wheelchair lifting platforms
- Patient positioning systems
- Ceiling hoist systems
The growing size of the average Australian, equates to an ever increasing risk for workers involved in manually transporting or moving larger patients.
On the other side of the scale and just as important as physical well being, is the necessity for employers to protect their workers mental health.
Approximately one in five Australian workers are dealing with depression or anxiety and the cost of this due to absenteeism is around 10.9 billion dollars.
Some suggestions which may assist in boosting better psychological well being are:
- Promote a happy and social workplace environment
- Through relationship building
- Social activities
- Encourage workers to adopt healthy eating habits
- Initiate regular exercising activities
- Create a supportive workplace culture
Optimally, your workplace should be a safe, enjoyable environment where employees derive satisfaction from their work and feel their employers are mindful of their well being.
Providing your staff with tools which will enable them to perform their work in this manner, is the best way to increase productivity, improve employee retention and minimise the costs of workplace injuries. The choice is in your hands.