Health and Safety at Work

When you work in an office with a computer all day, health and safety at work is a major issue...

Painful neckWhen so many different things are taken into account when it comes to running customer service, it’s easy to overlook the consideration of making sure everyone working in the call center is protected physically, and mentally.

Now, I am not implying that employers simply overlook health and safety at work, but when we’re talking about a customer service call center that probably has hundreds of employees housed in it at any one particular time, preserving the health and safety of everyone becomes the responsibility of everyone who works there.

After all, we cannot expect to sit back and take no responsibility for the things we do and expect someone else to come along and correct it for us.

In my honest opinion, many employers get the short end of the stick when it comes to this issue.

With so many physical problems that can occur form sitting at a desk incorrectly while performing a customer service job, the chance an employer takes to keep every seat they employ filled is pretty high.

An employer can only do so much, and as long as they are doing that they should not and can not be blamed for workplace injuries such as, RSI, carpal tunnel or eye strain.

The responsibility of the Employee

I will be the first one to place blame on the workplace in regard to these issues if they are not doing their job in educating employees of the risks taken when doing this kind of work, and how to successfully cut down the risk of employees experiencing these issues.

I cannot express my disbelief when I walk into work and the first thing I see when I get into the call center is posters explaining how to properly sit at a desk, how to properly use a keyboard, and how to properly distance yourself from the computer screen, and then when I walk past people sitting there, taking calls and working hard but they are slouched in their seats and their feet are not even on the floor.

On the occasions I have had the opportunity to discuss health and safety at work with peers, I have concluded that some people just don’t care about their own health and they would be the first ones to place a worker's compensation claim if they were to develop something like carpal tunnel(!)

I have heard comments like "I don't care if I get it, as a matter of fact I hope I do so I can claim my benefits and not have to work for awhile!"

Ouch!

With employees that are in this mind set, it seems hopeless for employers to try and eliminate employee health issues so they can keep them at work where they belong. After thinking about how frustrating it must be for employers if it frustrates someone like me so much, I came to the conclusion that there must be others like me that benefit from their posters hung on the call center walls.

So in fact, employers who place warning posters and prevention posters for certain health and safety at work issues within the call center really are cutting down on their chances of losing employees to these health and safety at work issues.

I don’t think people realize how much pain and frustration comes with workplace injuries...

  • When dealing with RSI and carpal tunnel, it is painful and can inhibit many things someone does in their life.
  • When falling down a flight of stairs because the rail wasn’t used like the signs posted request, it can land you in the hospital!
I don’t understand if for no other reason, why people do not hold their on health and safety in high regard! They are ultimately the ones that need to make sure they keep themselves safe. It’s something everyone has the task of staying on top of in all other aspects of our lives; it should not be any different at work.

The responsibility of the Employer

Things that employers can work harder to provide for employees is:
  • ergonomically safe office furniture like chairs and keyboards (many call centers do not even offer this!)
  • Making sure doorways and others places that see a lot of foot traffic are free of obstacles.
  • Have kitchen and bathroom areas cleaned on a very regular basis.
While some companies do an excellent job in these areas, chances are if you work in call centers and you change jobs even once in awhile, you are bound to come across call centers not offering these safety benefits.

So while employers are far from perfect in the quest to minimize work related health and safety issues, employees certainly should not be left off the hook.

More on Health and Safety at Work

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