How to Stay Safe and Healthy at Work

How to Stay Safe and Healthy at Work

00:27 28th March 2018 | Occupational Health safety

Emotional Health Mental Health Physical Health Work related Injuries Safety And Health Regulations Safety Rules

No form of work should be forced, encouraged or allowed if it is at the expense of people's health and safety. Unfortunately, insufficient or lack of safety and health regulation is a major global problem and an ongoing concern in Nigeria. Most employees are exposed to some (or various) safety and health hazards in both the formal and informal industries.

Creating and nurturing a safety and health culture at work can help reduce the number of work-related injuries and death. Long hours on a daily basis add up so it is essential to provide and maintain safe working environments if there are chemical, biological, physical, mechanical, psychological and ergonomic hazards.

The purpose of this blog post is to offer health and safety advice for work environments that present physical and mental challenges and often potential hazards.

Stay Healthy at Work

Wellness, the state of being in good health, is very important.

Physical Health

  • Sleep enough
  • Drink enough water
  • Eat breakfast and a healthy, light lunch every day
  • If you have a desk job, keep your workspace clean and tidy
  • Pay attention to your posture when seated and moving around
  • Cut back on caffeinated drinks (which often contain sugar and/or dairy)
  • Sick employees should report to management as they can infect others
  • If possible, stay away from people who are not feeling well or show signs of illness
  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating, after using a restroom and after sneezing/coughing. Keep sanitiser handy for times you cannot wash with water and soap
  • Wash your hands after being near (or in contact with) a sick person and disinfect areas accessed

At home, make time for and commit to regular exercise. It also helps to plan and prepare meals in advance. Think lean protein, whole grains, salad, fresh vegetables and fruit.

Emotional Health

To work productively, cope with stress, realise your full potential and work well with others you need to acknowledge the importance of emotional health.

  • Don’t not be afraid to ask for help
  • Set goals: short-term or long-term goals with realistic steps to reach them
  • Share your thoughts, feelings and concerns in a professional, constructive way
  • Interact with coworkers during breaks to build and foster healthy work relationships
  • To make your job more enjoyable, it is important to feel like you have a purpose and that you are making a difference, so try to find meaning in your job to promote a positive outlook

Mental Health

A sense of wellbeing is vital for happiness.

  • Plan your day
  • Reward yourself for a job well done
  • To relax, find a space to meditate and/or do a few stretches
  • Take breaks and step outside for fresh air and safe sun exposure
  • It is OK to say no to extra work that is not part of your job requirements
  • Voice concerns, resolve conflict at work and consult your superior for help
  • Stay on top of stress: acknowledge it and take time to unwind in a way that is healthy, effective and sustainable
Staying Safe

Addressing all aspects of your health is not enough when it comes to taking care of yourself at work. You have to prioritise your safety as well. There should be preventative measures and strict protocols in place to help ensure that injuries and fatalities are avoided.

  • Always follow the safety rules
  • Regularly rest your eyes if and when necessary
  • Go for regular health checks as and when required
  • Enquire about health resources and benefits at work
  • Assess your surroundings and be alert to avoid hazards
  • Make sure you have the proper training and supervision
  • Report injuries to your supervisor, no matter how minor
  • Inform your supervisor of workplace safety hazards and risks
  • Familiarise yourself with emergency protocols and emergency exits
  • Protect your back and other parts of your body by lifting objects safely
  • If you do not know how to do something or use something, ask for help
  • Make sure you use tools, machinery and other relevant equipment correctly
  • If the temperature affects your work, talk to a supervisor or manager about it
  • Learn your rights: workers have a right to safe and healthy working conditions
  • Fitness for duty: if your job is dangerous, you need to be physically assessed and cleared
  • Ergonomically optimise your workspace, e.g. make sure your chair is the right height for your desk; do not sit too close to the computer screen; clear your desk of unnecessary objects
  • Stay sober: alcohol and drugs can cause injury and death because exercising judgment, coordination, motor control, concentration and alertness are compromised
  • Always wear all the protective gear necessary, if applicable, such as earplugs, safety glasses or goggles, work gloves, hard hats, aprons, hair nets, etc.

If you feel that your rights are being violated, you should reach out to the relevant organisations for information and advice related to workplace safety and health issues.

Benefits of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
  • Contributes to well-being
  • Indirectly promotes public health
  • Business remains compliant with laws
  • Reduces work-related sickness absence
  • Ensures work is not affected by poor health
  • Increases productivity for business and economy
  • Saves costs by reducing potential claims and litigations

Human resources counselling in the workplace is seldom provided or mandatory, but all companies can benefit from providing counselling services to staff. If the service cannot be provided, recommendations or referrals should be offered to ensure that employees get the support they need. Benefits of counselling include:

  • Improved employee morale
  • Retention of valued employees
  • Increased employee productivity
  • Increased quality in employee performance
  • Decrease in time spent on managing poor performers
World Day for Safety and Health at Work

28 April is World Day for Safety and Health at Work (SafeDay). It exists to promote (a) safe, healthy and decent work and (b) the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. This year, SafeDay and the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) will launch a joint campaign to improve the safety and health of young workers (by 2030) and end all forms of child labour (by 2025). 



Tell your employer about your concerns or make use of counselling services, if available. You can also contact Bridge Clinic to discuss health concerns and counselling options. If you have sustained an injury that has not been acknowledged or addressed, report it and make an appointment for a medical check-up.


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