In the current circumstances of the global pandemic, teachers are more concerned than ever about creating a safe learning environment for their students.
However, teachers should also be consciously aware of their own safety. As we have discussed in past blog posts, teachers rarely anticipate that their jobs will involve the risk of injury, but several hazards could increase the chance of teachers suffering an injury at work.
What steps can teachers take to prevent injuries on the job?
Most Maryland school districts are beginning this school year virtually. Teachers and students alike will be engaging in remote learning like they did last spring. However, some schools will implement a hybrid learning plan with some remote learning and some in-person education.
Regardless of how teachers are returning to work, there are a few things they must consider to reduce the risk of an injury:
- Keep the classroom clean: Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of injuries for teachers. Whether they are back in the classroom or setting up a place in their home to be the virtual classroom, teachers must ensure the area is clear of hazards such as cords, bookbags, toys and even open drawers.
- Use ergonomic solutions: Teaching often involves repetitive motions which can lead teachers to suffer shoulder, back and even neck injuries. Over time, such injuries can cause long-lasting nerve damage or muscle tears that can impede movement. Therefore, teachers should carefully evaluate their actions throughout the day – such as bending or stretching to write or help students – and consider obtaining ergonomic equipment or implementing solutions to avoid pain and injuries.
- Take care of mental health: Recent studies have determined that teachers face high-stress levels on the job. Such stress is understandable, but it can lead to serious injuries, including cardiovascular conditions, burnout-related injuries and even long-term mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Teachers should make sure they take time to focus on their mental health, so they can stay healthy, focused and reduce the risk of injury.
Teachers have a lot on their minds as they begin a new school year, but they must make sure that their safety is one of the things they prioritize.