Now more than ever workplace safety has become a hot button issue across the United States. Every day, essential workers are putting their lives at risk in order to keep the economy functioning, often with little protection or additional benefit to themselves. However, even though the pandemic ravaging the nation is a massive issue, the matter of workplace health and safety goes far beyond that one facet. Maximizing workplace health and safety is complex, however, there are some basic tips that can ensure that employees are protected and cared for should something happen to them on the job or outside of it.
Risks Are More Common Than Most Think
While the risk of exposure to disease, violence, long working shifts, high-stress, and inadequate pay has always been a challenge for those working in the medical field, the steady climb of COVID-19 cases across the nation has made those issues a reality for an increasing number of essential workers outside of the medical field. Though we should all recognize the increased risk that US workers face during the pandemic, we should not lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of risks outside of COVID-19 or violence from science deniers that have to be dealt with and will not cease to exist when COVID-19 is eventually dealt with permanently.
For example, back injuries are a major concern for just about every profession there is, whether it requires long hours of standing or sitting. Major causes of back injuries in the workplace range from cutting corners, poor wellness initiatives, and improper risk assessment on the side of the employers to simple incorrect lifting techniques and constant, repetitive motion by the employee. Workplace injuries can even present themselves as the development of varicose veins for those working in professions that require long hours on their feet such as teachers, food service, and healthcare workers.
Solutions Are Coming From Unexpected Places
As of 2019, over 85% of workplace injuries were caused by overexertion, slips, trips, falls, and contact with objects and equipment both in and out of the healthcare workplace. While the bulk of these injuries can be avoided with proper training, appropriate storage of heavy items and overall good housekeeping practices, the aftermath of these injuries when they do occur can rob workers of weeks or months of wages as they recover.
While employer-provided healthcare plans can often provide adequate care to those that have fallen to workplace health and safety hazards, new standards for prevention in the era of COVID-19 are proving difficult to keep up with for many businesses including those in the healthcare field.
ECommerce has helped alleviate a huge amount of pressure on both the healthcare industry and a huge number of businesses by allowing non-critical patients to receive care via online healthcare portals reducing the strain on hospitals in this precarious time. Companies like Amazon also have long-held plans to begin expanding into the digital healthcare space and in 2020 it has allowed patients to have prescription medications delivered directly to their doors and hospitals and businesses to quickly order vital medical supplies and PPE in the battle against COVID-19.
Ensuring health and safety in the workplace has quickly become a huge priority. Protecting workers from the spread of COVID-19 along with helping them avoid more common workplace injuries not only helps those workers stay afloat in a tumultuous economy, but allows businesses to keep their doors open during one of the most trying times the world has faced in recent memory, helping folks to maintain some semblance of normalcy when confronted by an incredibly abnormal situation.