Back to school: Preventing staff injuries in the classroom

Occupational Medicine
Teacher spraying a students desk with cleaner
By MultiCare Occupational Medicine

2020 was a difficult year for all of us, including educators. At MultiCare Occupational Medicine, we are so proud to treat many of Washington’s professionals in the education industry and we deeply appreciate the important role they play in our communities.

As some educators, support staff and school administrators begin to return to the classroom in 2021, we want to share simple steps employees can take to avoid preventable injuries at work.

Working at a school is a relatively low risk career, but it’s common for MultiCare Occupational Medicine providers to see teachers, para-educators, aides, and service staff for falls, strains, sprains, pain and lacerations.


How School Staff Can Prevent Injuries

Keep an orderly workspace.

Teachers and administrators are making big changes to their classrooms and offices to meet COVID-19 prevention requirements. Amongst the sea of desks and masks, make sure there is an adequate foot path, free of debris to prevent falls. This includes during class time and after hours when janitorial staff are working in classrooms.

MultiCare Occupational Medicine Physician, Archie Adams, MD, reminds school staff that despite new preparation and environmental maintenance, it’s important to keep employee health at the forefront. “When moving large items, take your time and don’t take short cuts,” Dr. Adams advises. “When you drop something, just let it fall. Don’t try to save a mug.”

Use ergonomic tools.

After months in a chair and stretching your neck to hear students on zoom calls, it’s important to transition back to school with ergonomics in mind. Fatigue mats and adjustable chairs can help during long periods of standing and prevent back, hip or leg pain.

Prepare your body with stretches.

Repetitive stress injuries from writing on white boards, grading papers, reading and bending down are common among school staff. Taking just 10 minutes to stretch your wrists, shoulders, and back before the work day can prepare your muscles and provide stress relief!

Even when all these steps are taken, accidents still happen. If an employee gets injured, make sure they are informed about occupational medicine and are prepared to get the care they need, quickly. MultiCare Occupational Medicine has X-ray imaging onsite and work closely with Indigo Urgent Care clinics to ensure a seamless patient experience 7 days a week.

Workforce Care You Can Count On

MultiCare Occupational Medicine is dedicated to helping Washington employers and employees navigate workplace safety, employee health and workers’ compensation. We can address any questions you have or guidance you need related to COVID-19 in the workplace, injuries on the job, pre-employment services and more.

Contact MultiCare Occupational Medicine

Puget Sound: 888-280-5513

Inland Northwest: 833-602-8027