Every good reason to work—pride, passion, camaraderie, money, personal
growth—also is a great reason to keep yourself healthy and safe on the job.
Here are 5 tried-and-true ways to reduce your risk of common workplace
injuries and illnesses:
1. Fight colds and the flu. To help stop the spread of germs at work:
• Sneeze and cough into a tissue; then throw the tissue away.
• Wash your hands often, or use gel or disposable wipes that sanitize
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
• Get an annual flu shot. It protects against three of the main strains
If you do get sick, do your colleagues a favor: Stay home to avoid
spreading germs to others.
2. Learn to lift correctly. To help avoid hurting your back:
• Kneel down on one knee as near as possible to the object you're
lifting. Plant the other foot flat on the floor.
• Use both hands to lift the object, and lift with your legs—not your
back—as you stand up.
• Always keep the object close to your body, and don't bend at the
3. Sit properly at your desk. To help reduce strain on your back, neck and shoulders:
• Place your computer monitor directly in front of you, with the top
tilted back 10 to 20 degrees. The top of the viewing screen should be at eye
level when you're seated.
• Position the computer's keyboard and mouse at the same height. They
should be next to each other and close to your body.
• Adjust your chair's backrest so that it supports the natural curve of
the lower back.
• Rest your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest. Your thighs should
be parallel to the floor and your knees at about hip level.
4. Protect your wrists. To help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome:
• Stretch your wrists. With an arm outstretched, use one hand to pull
the other hand back and then downward. Hold for 20 seconds. Relax. Repeat three
times for each hand.
• Don't rest your wrists on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
• Switch hands during work tasks.
• Adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with
your computer keyboard.
5. Protect your vision from computer-related problems. To help reduce the dry eyes, eyestrain, headaches, neck and shoulder
pain, and blurred vision that are hallmarks of computer vision syndrome:
• Reduce the glare on your computer screen. Close window blinds, shield
the computer from overhead lights and use low-wattage bulbs in desk lamps.
• Position the center of the screen 15 to 20 degrees below eye level
and 20 to 28 inches from your eyes.
• Correct vision problems. Prescription eyewear designed for computer
use and eye-coordination exercises may help.