SIDNEY — Workplace safety is vital to a success business.
And, according to Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart, it doesn’t matter if you work from home or at your place of employment.
“If you’re working in a home office or at an office like you and I do, then there’s precautions you need to take,” said Lenhart during his weekly interview. “Six thousand people die a year during an accident in their home office.”
Most people, he said, have home office where their computer is located.
“How much time a day do you spend on a computer,” asked Lenhart. “You’re looking at the computer screen for a long period of time. You’re sitting in an office chair for a long period of time.You might have children who do their homework on the computer.”
The main accidents people encounter at home is the result of a fall.
“You might trip over a loose piece of carpet or electrical or computer cords that are on the floor,” said Lenhart.
A fall could also occur when you are bending from a chair trying to pick something up. The person loses their balance and falls from the chair.
“Or a person uses the chair as a ladder and falls,” said Lenhart. “You could also slip on a wet floor. If there’s not adequate lighting, you might not be able to see where you’re walking.
“So you should always look before you start walking. Make sure the walkway is clear. Close any desk drawers so you don’t hit them. And don’t reach for something while you’re sitting down.”
Lenhart said everyone should make sure their work area is fall proof.
“Clean up all things from the floor,” said Lenhart. “I’ve been know to have a beverage by my computer. I recently had to buy a new keyboard because the beverage got spilled on it.”
When lifting small stacks of items or reams of computer paper, Lenhart had the following tips to avoid back, shoulder or neck problems:
• Lift by squatting and using your legs to go up and down.
• Keep your back straight.
• Use your entire hand and not just your fingertips to hold the item.
• Keep the item close to your body.
While working at your workstation, Lenhart said you should always have the proper posture to avoid neck or back problems.
“I have a tendency to slouch,” said Lenhart. “But you should sit up straight with your elbows at a 90 degree angle (while typing). Have your computer at eye level. Make sure the font is big enough so you can see it easily.”
Lenhart encourages people to have a proper workstation at their home. And they should remember to look away from the computer screen for 30 to 45 seconds for every 15 minutes they are working. Every half hour you should get up and stretch, he said.
“Out dispatchers have work stations that can be brought up so they can stand up and work,” said Lenhart. “This is good for them to be able to stand up in an emergency so that it’s easier to move around.”
Mechanical aides — such as a wheelbarrow, forklift or two-wheeled cart — should be used if you’re hauling or moving large items, he said.
“Three percent of the folks who get hurt have alcohol/drugs or in their system,” he said. “That affects your mobility and judgment.”
Lenhart said if there’s workplace stress involved at your place of employment, a person should take a deep breath and walk away from the situation. Take a break or your lunch break, he said.
“This will make it easier to do the job,” he said.
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.