Most people don’t think of office work as particularly dangerous. While working in an office isn’t as risky as manufacturing or construction, it still has its hazards. It’s possible to sustain serious injury in the course of performing everyday tasks in the office, and it’s important to know how to avoid them.
1. Musculoskeletal Problems
Among the most common office injuries are musculoskeletal problems. Sitting at a desk for long hours of the day can result in repetitive strain injuries to the back, neck, and shoulders. Working at a computer commonly results in carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the wrists. If you have significant back, shoulder, or joint pain after a period of working at a desk day after day, you may be able to recover workers’ compensation for a musculoskeletal injury.
Of course, it’s better to prevent these injuries in the first place. An ergonomic setup for your desk is key to preventing musculoskeletal disorders. Make sure that:
- Your chair is at the right height, with your feet flat and thighs horizontal.
- Your back is properly supported.
- The top of your computer monitor is at about eye level.
- Your keyboard and chair are situated to allow your elbows to rest at a 90-degree angle.
These tips should prevent most musculoskeletal injuries that result from desk work. If you still have problems, you may be able to secure compensation to cover any medical costs that may arise as a result.
2. Eye Strain
While it may seem too minor to describe as an office injury, eye strain is a real issue in modern workplaces. Hours spent staring at computer screens can lead to eye problems and related issues, including headaches and physical fatigue.
Preventing eye strain is fairly simple, and may include such measures as:
- Reducing glare from windows and other light sources.
- Using lower intensity light bulbs.
- Setting the brightness of your computer display to match your surroundings.
- Altering the size of text on your screen.
During the work day, you may want to take a brief break from your computer screen every twenty minutes and stare at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds (called the 20-20-20 rule). Doing so can give your eyes a break and make eye strain injuries less likely.
3. Slips and Falls
Finally, slips and falls are among the most severe causes of injury in an office setting, and they are also surprisingly common. Slip and trip hazards include:
- Wet floors, stairs, and ramps
- Loose rugs
- Uneven flooring
- Exposed cords
- Poor visibility from subpar lighting
- Misuse of office equipment as stepping stools
Cleaning up or marking spills, using ice melt in the winter, and keeping a neat and orderly workspace free of loose cords and clutter can all help prevent slip, trip, and fall injuries at the office.
Office Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
While most office injuries are preventable, they still pose a risk, even if you’re being careful. It is the duty of your employer to cover work-related injuries through workers’ compensation. If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of your workplace duties, your first step should be to see a doctor. After that, report your injury to your employer. You may also need to contact an attorney to make sure you receive the benefits you need to cover your injury.