3 Health Hazards in the Office and How to Avoid Them​
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Health Hazards

(Image: iStock.com/Susan Chiang)

The average morning commute to the office can be a walk on the wild side for any CEO or entrepreneur with today’s traffic conditions, especially in major cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Hazards might be abound even before you get to the office, but what about those present once you arrive?

With some entrepreneurs spending at least 62 hours per week workingand some burning the midnight oil past 70 hoursit’s evident how vital it is to have a healthy daily workplace experience.

Check out three health hazards that might present themselves in the office, and how you can avoid or combat them:

1. Joint Conditions

Experts say repetitive movements can cause discomfort or even injury from conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and sitting all day can cause stiffness, pain, or even blood clots.

The Solution?

The National Institute of Health recommends participation in on-the-job conditioning, performing stretching exercises, and taking frequent rest breaks. It also suggests having workstations, tasks, tools, and tool handles redesigned to enable your wrists to maintain a natural position during work.

2. Airborne Hazards

According to the CDC, more than 17 million adults in the U.S. have asthma (including allergic asthma). Indoor triggers of asthma include dust mites, mold, and insects.

These triggers also affect those without asthma, causing breathing issues and skin irritations. The CDC indicates that indoor environmental air quality at your workplace can be affected by various factors; from caulks, sealants, and coatings, to air fresheners and other scented products. Potential health issues related to these factors include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.

The Solution?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends to avoid blocking air vents with office furniture, complying with (or enforcing) a company smoking policy to only smoke in designated office areas, and disposing of all garbage promptly in the proper receptacle.

Employers are also encouraged to create additional policies that protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, enforce rules on trash disposal, keep up with HVAC system updates, and maintain great pest control practices.

Using environmentally friendly cleaning products, office supplies, and even furniture can do wonders as well. If you have asthma or allergies, be sure to keep a supply of the necessary medications at the office for emergencies.

3. Fatty Food Temptations

This doesn’t have a direct link to immediate health emergencies, however, over time, multiple trips to the vending machine for sugar and fat-filled snacks definitely doesn’t help in reaching wellness goals.

The Solution?

Drink lots of water throughout the day and keep a stash of your own healthy snacks at the office. Experts tout the benefits of drinking a full glass of water before eating to avoid overindulging. Also, the more healthy snacks you invest in to munch on at your desk, the less likely you’ll spend the extra dollar or two on that bag of chips, chocolate bar, or soda.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.


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