Steps to Protect Your Health at Work

Steps to Protect Your Health at Work

When it comes to work-related injuries, nurses get more than their fair share. So, what are you doing to protect your health?

Is more exercise one of your resolutions for 2014? Smart move. Regular exercise not only helps to control your weight, it may also help prevent injuries and colds. Consider this the next time you want to skip a workout. Strength training, cardio activity and stretching are preventive measures.

Nursing ranks among the top occupations for work-related musculoskeletal disorders, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Heavier patients, a shortage of nurses and the aging of the workforce add up to a recipe for injury. Being fit is not a guarantee you will bypass manual-lifting injuries, but strengthening core muscles may reduce the likelihood and help existing back injuries heal.

The best way to prevent back pain is to avoid heavy lifting. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health puts the limit on safe lifting at 35 pounds. Use the lifting equipment and other assistive devices in your workplace to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.

Other preventive measures to protect your health include:

✔ Speak up. If conditions are less than ideal when it comes to proper lifting equipment or your hospital’s safe-patient handling program, do not suffer in silence. Be an advocate for workplace safety.

✔ Wash your hands often. One of the best ways to prevent a cold or the flu is good hand hygiene. Keep viral and bacterial infections at bay by washing your hands throughout the day.

✔ Take care of your feet. Get proper-fitting shoes that provide good support. Add orthotics to treat problems such as plantar fasciitis.

✔ Take breaks. Give your body a rest by taking time to recover from daily stress. If you are new to the job, take breaks more often than seasoned workers to prevent injuries from fatigue.

Protect the health of your patients by protecting your own!

Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, education and business. Visit her at