Administrative Professional Health and Safety Tips

Woman in front of computer

Administrative professionals play a significant role in today’s workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006, secretaries and administrative assistants held about 4.2 million jobs, ranking among the largest occupations in the U.S. economy. They are employed in a variety of fields, including education, health care, government, retail, manufacturing, construction, and more.

Administrative Professionals Week is celebrated the last full week of April each year. Make health a priority and take steps to live a safer and healthier life during this special week and all year long.

Lower your risk for musculoskeletal problems

Sprains and strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other musculoskeletal disorders account for more than half (52%) of the injuries and illnesses suffered by female workers, as compared to 45% for male workers. Arrange your work space so you can work comfortably without needing to over-reach for items, sit or stand too long, or use awkward postures. Use a back or foot rest if needed. Take breaks to stretch your legs, arms, and neck.

Take frequent breaks

Both shift work and long work hours have been associated with health and safety risks. In jobs in which you sit at a computer or do other repetitive physical work, brief rest breaks each hour seem to be best for recovery from muscle fatigue.

Eat healthy

Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle. You need to eat to fuel your body and be productive. Don’t skip meals, no matter how hectic the work shift may be. Pack some healthy snacks for mid-shift cravings, such as fruit, nuts, or low-fat yogurt. Provide a variety of healthy options when planning meals at conferences and meetings, too.

Get physical activity

Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. Include physical activity in your work day, particularly if you sit in front of a computer most of the time. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further from the door, or take a walk with co-workers during lunch. Take advantage of work-out facilities and lifestyle programs if they’re available at your job.

Manage stress

Job stress can lead to poor health and injury. Technical, sales, and administrative support along with managerial and professional specialty occupations constituted about 64% of anxiety, stress, and neurotic disorder cases in 2001.

Help lower the effects of stressful working conditions. Keep a balance between work and personal life, a support network of friends and coworkers, and a relaxed and positive outlook. Meditation and exercise can also help.

Be smoke-free

Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Just 20 minutes after smoking that last cigarette, your body begins a series of positive changes that continue for years. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others.

Be safe

An average of 1.7 million people are victims of violent crime while working or on duty in the United States. Women were the victims in nearly two-thirds of the injuries resulting from workplace assaults. Most of these assaults (70%) were directed at women employed in service occupations, such as health care, while an additional 20% of these incidents occurred in retail locations, such as restaurants and grocery stores.

Follow these steps to help you have a healthier lifestyle at work, home, and play!

Page last reviewed: January 3, 2014
Content source: Women's Health