Common Office Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Construction sites and factories seem more dangerous than other workplaces and this is why they have such strict safety protocols. However, just because an office environment is safer doesn’t mean that it is completely safe.
Office workers face a distinctive set of potential injuries than do those in other fields. For example, remaining seated indoors, while talking on the phone or using a computer means the top injuries experienced by office workers are vision strain, pain in the wrists and hands, and neck and back pain.
Nevertheless, the most frequent cause of injury is one that people in any workplace suffer: slips and falls. People in an office workplace, however, are two times more likely to injure themselves in a fall than those in any other work environment.
It is, therefore, critical that people employed in an office remain alert, use common sense, and think ahead.
Not only are falls the most common type of office injury, they are also the cause of the most disabling injuries experienced by these workers. Falls result in disabling injuries for those in offices two to two-and-a-half times more frequently than they do for workers in other settings.
Falls are most frequently caused by:
· Using a chair as a substitute for a ladder
· Stumbling over loose cords or electrical wires, open file or desk drawers, objects in walkways/hallways, or loose carpeting
· Slipping on a wet floor
· Reaching for something or bending while seated on a wobbly chair
· Insufficient lighting
As you can see from the list of causes, falls are preventable. Employees should:
· Get up when trying to reach something instead of stretching while they remain seated
· Look ahead before walking and avoid moving forward until their path is clear
· Close drawers immediately after they are done using it
· Use a stepladder to reach things overhead, rather than a chair
· Report all fall hazards, like loose carpeting or electrical cords
· Try to reduce fall hazards by cleaning up spills and picking up objects that could lead to injuries
People who work in offices often find themselves lifting heavy items, even though that doesn’t seem like it should be such a frequent part of the job. But, workers nonetheless find themselves moving computers, monitors, stacks of files, reams of paper, etc.
If the lifting is done without proper precautions, it can lead to injury, especially for employees that tend to have minimal physical exertion during their workday. If an item feels too heavy to lift, employees need to ask for help or have another person do the lifting for them, as improper technique often leads to injury of the back, neck, and shoulders.
When lifting an item in the office, employees need to:
· Lower their body by squatting
· Using their legs to return to standing
· Keep their back straight
· Use the entire hand to secure the object, rather than the tips of the fingers
· Hold the item close to their body, rather than extended
· Avoid twisting
When they are prepared to set the item down, they need, again, to use their legs (instead of their back) for strength.
Struck by Objects
It sounds funny, but office workers are frequently injured when they are struck by objects, bump into objects, or find themselves caught between objects. Object injuries include:
· Catching fingers in drawers
· Catching fingers in windows
· Catching fingers in paper cutters
· Catching hair or jewelry in office machinery
· Bumping into desks
· Getting hit by falling objects from cabinet tops
· Having items cropped on feet
· Being hit by a falling cabinet
· Being struck by an opening drawer
These injuries can be avoided by remaining alert to the surrounding. Employees should concentrate on what they are doing and be mindful of the placement of their feet, hair, jewelry, and fingers. All materials should also be safely stored away, and equipment should have proper safety guards.
Jean Machado is a human resources specialist, head of an office safety team at her company, and a writer. She does freelance work for several trade publications targeted at executives and office workers. She’s also an expert health blogger specializing in behavior problems, addiction, recovery, treatment such as <a href=”https://www.addictions.com/marijuana-addiction-treatment/” target=”_blank” rel=”dofollow”>treatment for marijuana addiction</a>.