Stay safe and avoid injuries with these simple steps.
Whether it's maintaining proper posture and taking appropriate breaks at work, or clearing away clutter and installing proper lighting at home, there are many easy things you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Safety Tips for Home & Work
Desk work can be hard on your back, eyes, wrists and more. Proper office ergonomics can help:
- Maintain proper posture. Pay careful attention to how you position your head, neck, spine, arms, wrists, hips, thighs and feet. Alternate between different postures on a regular basis.
- Avoid awkward positions when you reach for items on or near your desk such as the telephone, mouse or reference materials.
- Use minimum force when you strike the keys on the keyboard.
- Avoid resting your elbows, forearms or wrists on hard surfaces or sharp edges.
- Keep a neutral position when you use the keyboard. Make sure your forearms, wrists and hands are in a straight line.
- Give your eyes a break by closing them momentarily, gazing at a distant object or blinking frequently.
- Alternate your work activities to avoid overuse of a particular muscle group.
- Take frequent mini-breaks to give your muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover.
- Maintain a proper exercise program. Consult with a health care professional to select appropriate exercises.
Improving your posture – at work and at home – is good for your overall health:
- Sit in a chair with a straight back, with your back supported and feet flat on the floor.
- Change positions frequently when you are doing an activity for a prolonged period of time.
- Support your arms and keep your shoulders level while you’re sitting.
- When you stand, distribute your weight on both feet.
- Think "tall" when standing.
- Wear comfortable shoes and avoid high heels.
- Maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly.
- Sleep on a firm mattress with a pillow that comfortably supports your neck.
- Keep your car seat upright so that your hips are at a 90-degree angle.
Learn how to protect your back while you’re on the job:
Lifting/Carrying - Avoid heavy loads by splitting large loads into smaller, more manageable ones. To lift an object, stand close to it, then bend your knees to lower yourself into a squatting position while keeping your back upright. Then, move slowly into a standing position. Carry objects close to your body with your elbows tucked in close to your torso.
Reaching - Use a sturdy stool or ladder to retrieve objects from a high shelf. Keep your shoulders, hips and feet facing the object; avoid twisting to reach things to the side. Before you lift, test the weight of the object by tipping one corner.
Pushing - Whenever possible, push instead of pull. Pushing puts less stress on your back and will give you more power to move an object. Stay close to the object, avoid reaching and both your arms to prevent strain.
Bending - Kneel down on one knee, bending your knees and hips while holding your back straight. If you’re bending from a seated position, place one hand on your knee or a desk.
Exercise for strength and flexibility - Exercise regularly to strengthen your key muscle groups and to maintain/increase your flexibility. A regular exercise program will not only make you feel better, it will reduce your risk of injury. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an exercise program.
Every year, millions of people fall. A significant number sustain serious injuries. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of falling at home.
Get rid of clutter - Keep walkways and stairways clear of items such as shoes, newspapers, clothing, etc. Keep high traffic areas clear.
Select appropriate floor coverings –Don’t use throw rugs unless they’re secured to the floor with double-sided safety tape or have a non-skid backing. If your stairs are carpeted, periodically check to see that the carpet is securely attached to the stairs. Check stair railings and spindles to make sure they aren’t loose.
Plan for storage - Store lawn equipment, tools, supplies, and similar items properly when they aren’t in use. When using multiple items, reduce your risk of tripping over them by consolidating the unused items in one central location. Plan storage in your home to keep frequently used items within easy reach so you can avoid using a stool or ladder whenever possible.
Place your phone in a convenient place - A phone should be available on each floor of your home. Be sure to secure or cover loose phone or electrical cords to avoid tripping over them. If you have a cordless or cell phone, remember to always carry it with you.
Establish safety precautions in the bathroom - Use a shower chair in the shower or bathtub. Use grab bars or a bench to ease your transition from the floor to the shower or tub.
Avoid pulling on bathroom fixtures – they aren’t designed to support your body weight. Make sure there’s no soap or residue on the surfaces of your shower or bathtub.
Clean up spills - Wipe up spills as soon as they occur.
Install proper lighting - Install lighting so you can easily see on stairs, in hallways and in bathrooms. Nightlights are recommended. If your home includes a basement, make sure it’s also well lit.
Be aware of your pets –Don’t let your pets run free in your home, especially at night. Train your animals to give you a wide berth when you’re on your feet.
Choose appropriate footwear - Even when you’re in the house, only wear shoes that fit well and have non-skid soles.
Consider exterior lighting - Install driveway lighting and exterior lighting so you can see well outdoors. Automatic timers may be helpful.
Take a close look at your driveway - Make sure you or your family members don’t leave items in the entrance to your home. If you’re purchasing a home, consider the slope of the driveway. A steep slope can be dangerous, especially in inclement weather.
This is a list of simple safety precautions that may reduce your risk of falling at home. It is not intended to be all-inclusive.