Life as an employee in a firm can vary in quality. Often, depending on how well the working satisfaction is at your firm in question, you might have an easier or a more difficult time of it to those of your friends. This might fool you into thinking you deserve less or more from your employment, when in reality you may fall above or below the working standard. You must always remember that in your job, you are contractually obligated to fulfill the role you are being paid for. You can leave at any time, but during your time there, your side of the bargain must be filled to warrant your future at the company.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to keep quiet about things which are troubling you. This could be defined as any HR issue, an issue with pay, or concern about your working health. This last option is arguably the most important, even higher than pay. If you’re subjecting yourself to dangerous circumstances in pursuit of a paycheck, that paycheck will mean little when you’re struggling with your health or injuries.

For this reason, it’s important to defend your health at all times when working. How can you do this? We’d like to explore that in this following advice:

Learn To Say ‘No’

As people hoping to progress in our field, we can find yourself taking on too many responsibilities at once. Working long, hard overtime hours can crop up during a busy period, and from then even become an expected or normal thing to carry out. Some professions are notorious for this, such as the chef trade. It’s not uncommon to see chefs working 16+ hour days during their ascent to the level they wish to work from.

While in some professions this is expected, that doesn’t make it any less worrying. Overtime can slowly drain you, and working exhausted is as dangerous as working when highly stressed. Combine the two, and you have a recipe for disaster, whether that's through physical or mental breakdowns. It shouldn’t take one of these for you to rectify your course. The most important thing you can do to turn the scales of effort in your favor is to learn the word ‘no.’ We mean really learn it. Sometimes, especially in front of a boss, it can be hard to say.

Still, it can save your working life. Working long hours is not always working smart hours. If you find yourself doing it out of a sense of obligation, even though your general tasks are being completed promptly, you may have been taken advantage of. Strike a fine line between giving your all and giving too much. After all, if your employer really wishes to utilize you to your full potential and take up all of your time, you are warranted the pay and benefits that requires.

Understand Sickness Rights

It’s important to know exactly your rights for taking time off work. Maternal, paternal leave and sick pay all have time allowances. Companies follow strict legislation and should detail the terms of sick pay in your contract. For long absences, often verification through medical means is required. Your statutory sick pay guide can be found here, and it should help elucidate the more complex issues surrounding sick pay.

After all, when you truly need to heal, earning an income should be the last thing on your mind. It’s always best to heal when you know your financial blanket is there for you. However, you can only make use of this if you know your rights, know how to claim, and know which parameters you can fall into.

Health Insurance

Your health insurance is something you should know like the back of your hand. If your place of employment offers it as a benefit, you should know all intricacies of that plan, and what it provides. If you need to, top up that plan with your own funding, and discuss with payroll and your manager about this. Make sure that your plan covers you for all workplace eventualities. If you work a dangerous job, it’s important to triple check that all potential injuries or dangers are accounted for. Become familiar with your health and safety officer, and develop a keen understanding of your safety responsibilities.

Health insurance isn’t always in the form of a financial protective plan. Sometimes, it can be as simple as enrolling in optional courses your firm puts on to refresh your safety knowledge, or secure that extra qualification (such as first aid.) Doing so might not give you any financial benefit, but the knowledge gained could help you save yourself or another person in a difficult and dangerous situation. That, from the very start, is priceless.

Report Bad Behaviour

You never have to tolerate being put in danger from ineptitude. Sometimes, it can be as simple as making sure you report bad behaviour displayed by your colleagues. Negligence on their behalf, whether that’s chemical handling, fire safety or other careless actions can end up hurting you, so don’t feel like a ‘tattle tale’ for giving it the light of day. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and protected at work is worth mentioning. If your employment is worth its weight, it should take on your complaints through confidential and professional channels, observe and inspect the allegations, and resolve the issue thoroughly and quickly.

Foster Good Relationships

Of course, part of health is fostering a good support network. This can be in your work or outside of it. If people are there to help you when you need it, be that a covered shift, a car ride, or something more significant, good health can be as simple as having someone around you when you need it. Don’t downplay this in your own mind. We rely on the people around us to keep us progressive and moving forward. If something occurs that threatens your life, the people around you should be your first port of call in resolving the issue, be that a ride to the hospital, helping remind you of medication requirements, or defending you as a witness in a workplace claim.

With these tips, your health at work is sure to be protected, hopefully to the point where you can forget all about it.

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