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Archive for category: Healthy Workplace

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Food For Focus

Do you sometimes find it hard to focus? Whether at home, work, school or play, distractions are everywhere which can effect productivity and increase procrastination! The following from Men’s Health Magazine suggests 7 super foods to help you focus, improve memory and give you the boost you need to concentrate on your daily activities.

Men’s Health:  The Best Foods For Focus

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Workplace Safety – Not Optional

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 2.34 million occupational fatalities every year across the globe. In Canada alone injury and illness at work continues to be a significant problem.

It is estimated that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from working cost Canadian society upwards of $20 billion a year. Reports from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in 2012 indicate that 43% of the claims were due to sprains and strains, 20% were due to low back injury and 19% were due to overexertion.

In Ontario, the Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Occupational safety and health (OSH) is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. This Act explains the procedures for dealing with workplace hazards and allows the law to be enforced when workplaces have not adhered to the policies put in place.

Occupational therapists are experts at helping injured people to return to their jobs in modified or full capacities, or assist people to be retrained or find alternative forms of work if their previous occupation is no longer suitable. We conduct jobsite evaluations to outline the physical and cognitive work demands, assess the individual’s physical, cognitive and emotional preparedness to return, and often look at the ergonomics of their workstation or body positioning when doing the job. The overarching goal of all this is to ensure that people can return to work safely, can perform tasks independently, are productive, and to reduce the risk of re-injury. We also provide devices, education, organize work schedules and gradual return programs, and collaborate with employers, physicians and other health professionals to promote a successful outcome. With respect to prevention, we conduct workshops and provide education and training programs for employers and employees alike to promote health and safety while engaging in all work tasks.

April 28th is recognized as The World Day for Safety and Health at Work. It is held as an annual international campaign that seeks to promote safe, healthy and decent work environments. It also commemorates people who have had an accident or injury in the course of their job. It is important that we are all involved in this initiative – workplace safety should not be optional. Consider these four steps to make sure that health and safety are paramount in your organization:

  1. Get on board: You don’t have to be an owner or boss to be concerned about safety. Everyone is responsible for contributing to a safe workplace.
  2. Get in the know: Understand the hazards and risks at your own workplace.
  3. Get involved: If you see a hazard on the job, speak up and offer your insight and possible solutions.
  4. Get more help: All workers have the right to refuse work if they have reason to believe it is dangerous. Speak to a supervisor if you have concerns, or seek guidance from the Ontario Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

Or, if you are off work due to injury or illness and need help returning, would like solutions to help you work more comfortably, or are concerned about the impact of your job on your physical, cognitive or emotional health, consider contacting an occupational therapist. We are here to help.

References

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. http://www.wsibstatistics.ca/asset_files/images/ByTheNumbers2012_S1_pg5.pdf

United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/events/safeworkday/

Ministry of Labour. https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/prevention/index.php

Ministry of Labour. https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pdf/workbook.pdf

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A Little Creativity Can Go A Long Way

Are you feeling overwhelmed at work? Do you sometimes find it impossible to deal with your ever-growing inbox and workplace stress? The key here is to realize that your inbox will never be empty and instead of working harder, we need to work smarter by focussing on better productivity. Studies now show productivity at work is linked to how you spend your free time when not on the job. The following from Prevention Magazine suggests that expressing creativity and gaining a sense of accomplishment in your free time may increase your self-esteem helping you to tackle tasks on the job. Check out the following and let us know if you agree!

Prevention Magazine: The Happy Way To Be

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A Bit More Productive At Work

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Operation Simplification

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Being honest, the fast pace of this world is starting to wear on me.  And according to Ray Kurzweil, the pace of change is expanding exponentially.  Ouch.  Things are going to get faster?  I can see why Yoga, Mindfulness, Soul Retreats and Vacations are so revered by those who get to enjoy them.

While I am a type-A, goal driven, never-slows-down Taurus, I have vowed to simplify this year.  Perhaps that is my reaction to a crazy last year of opening a new office, starting a blog, finishing my MBA, redoing my basement, getting a puppy, merging my business, or maybe it is just a sign of my maturity as I reluctantly approach middle age (well not that reluctantly because I suppose the alternative to aging is death).

So, what is simplification?  Not sweating the small stuff?  Saying no more often?  Not taking on any new responsibilities?  Not engaging in any new capital projects?  Limiting the constant brain activity that results from obsessive technology use?  Restricting the kid’s activities to my tolerances, not theirs?  Knowing my limits and being disciplined about maintaining them?

I believe that simplification is FOCUS.  Successful people focus their time on the things they are good at or love, they set boundaries, and participate in the intriguing, high reward things they find intellectually, physically, and spiritually uplifting.  Everything else is left behind.  So if you find yourself searching for the next thing, seeking out endless possibility, tangentially changing your mind or direction, perhaps happiness is actually in front of you, simple and clean, but the clutter you are creating in your efforts is clouding your view.

Zenhabits has some wonderful pointers for simplification (see them here).  My favorites include:

  1. Make a list of the top 4-5 most important things in your life.  These should dictate your schedule.
  2. Evaluate your commitments.  Do these align with # 1?
  3. Evaluate your time.  Keep track of this to see how you spend your day.  Do these align with # 1?
  4. Limit communications (personally I am bad at over-communicating.  This year I am making a solid effort to restrict this and to set boundaries – especially with email).
  5. Limit your spending.  Less spending means less stuff.  Less stuff means less clutter.  Less clutter means simple.  I am up for that.

So, contrary to my usual habit of writing down my long and exhaustive list of goals for the year, this year the list is decidedly simple.  In the end, as Zenhabits suggests, I am going to evaluate what is most important to me and try to eliminate everything else.

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How Healthy Is Your Place of Work?

October is Healthy Workplace Month in Canada.  Many people tend to think of health more outside the workplace, however, in reality we all spend a considerable amount of time at work.   Have you ever reflected on how healthy your work environment and work habits are?  The focus of this year’s Healthy Workplace Month is on Mental Health.  Stress is everywhere, regardless of the job, and managing this is vital to our overall health.  The following article gives tips on how to manage and reduce workplace stress.

Stress at Work

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Aches and Pains From Technology

Are you attached to your smart phone, tablet or e-reader? In this “Health Minute” from CNN Health some potential health risks are revealed regarding our reliance on technology.  Ways to reduce the risks are also discussed.  Check this out to ensure you are taking care of yourself while still enjoying modern day conveniences.

CNN Health Minute: Aches and Pains from Technology