The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that around 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses take place in the private sector every year. Though it’s seen as a safer place of employment, there are many risks to working in an office environment.
The most common reason why these injuries occur is falling, according to the CDC. Office workers are 2–2.5 times more likely to sustain an injury from a fall than non-office workers. And this is not the only risk office workers may face.
Common Office Hazards
Office workers are routinely exposed to:
- Lifting injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Electrical hazards
- Poor posture
- Repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel
For most of these injuries, the causes have to do with the office space itself — how well it is organized, and how it keeps up with the recommended safety measures. Here are some tips on how to make the workplace injury-free:
1. De-clutter the Space
Tripping or slipping are more likely to occur if the office is full of clutter. It’s important to make sure everything is stored where it’s supposed to be, and not left lying around on halls or between the desk where they could be a potential hazard.
Additionally, the desks of employees should also be de-cluttered, to avoid any unfortunate events.
2. Have a Safety Code
It’s important for every office to have a safety code all employers are familiarized with. This code should contain both issues that should be avoided, as well as how to react in case of an office injury.
For instance, if there is a light bulb that needs to be changed, employees should only use sturdy ladders if they wish to do it themselves, never office chair with wheels. Employers can also reward those employees who do a good job of keeping the code to encourage others to follow suit.
3. Report any Violations
If there are issues with the wiring or heating systems in your office place, that’s not just a nuisance — it’s a potential threat. You should report these issues with your employer, and if they do nothing to address them, you can take matters to OSHA and launch an official investigation.
The same goes for violations made by other co-workers. They are putting themselves and others in danger, and you should report these instances to your supervisor.
What Happens If You Get Hurt?
If you were hurt in your office job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Remember these laws operate on a no-fault system.
To make sure you are properly compensated and able to cover your medical costs, consider working with an experienced attorney. They can help protect your rights so you can focus on your recovery after a work injury.