Office work is admittedly less dangerous than other professions, such as trucking, transportation, firefighting, and construction. However, office workers can and do become injured in workplace accidents. These injuries can be serious, and employees may need to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits while they are off work recovering. Like workers in other industries, office employees may find that they have to fight to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits that they are entitled to.
What Are Common Causes of Office Workers’ Accidents?
Office workers work in an environment that results in a unique set of accidents and injuries. They usually work indoors and are often seated all day. They may spend the majority or all of their day talking on the phone, staring at a computer, and typing. Common types of accidents in office settings that result in workers’ comp claims include:
- Slip and fall accidents. Falls are probably the most common way that employees injure themselves in an office setting. Cables, electrical cords, frayed carpeting, wet floors, and debris in hallways are a few of the ways that workers slip and fall and suffer debilitating injuries. Workers can also fall out of an unstable chair when leaning over to pick up an object, trip over an open drawer, or fall when they use a chair to stand on rather than a ladder.
- Overexertion. Office workers can suffer serious back, shoulder, and neck injuries when they overexert themselves, such as lifting boxes that are too heavy for them or moving heavy furniture.
- Repetitive movements. When office workers engage in repetitive movements, such as typing on a keyboard every day, they can suffer repetitive movement injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome. It can be more challenging to establish the connection between the worker’s job and injuries given that these problems often occur over a period of time.
- Workstation problems. If a worker’s chair, desk, or computer are not positioned properly, he can suffer injuries, some of which are like those caused by repetitive movements. These can include carpel tunnel syndrome, muscle strain, posture problems, and vision strain.
- Falling objects. Workers can suffer traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and other injuries if objects in cupboards or storage shelves fall onto them, objects are dropped on their feet, or boxes that are not stacked properly fall on top of them.
- Anxiety or stress. Office workers often must perform their duties under strict time limits and have other stressful aspects of their jobs. The continuous stress and anxiety can cause a worker to suffer mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
Tips for Avoiding Office Worker Accidents
Office workers and employers can take steps to prevent accidents that cause workers’ injuries. Some ways to avoid worker injuries include:
- Being aware of surroundings and looking around before walking
- Shutting drawers when not in use
- Getting up before reaching for something instead of bending down when seated
- Repairing or replacing loose and frayed carpeting and securing loose wires and cords
- Cleaning up spills quickly and keeping work areas and hallways free of boxes and debris
Lifting injuries can also be reduced by using common sense safety practices. These guidelines should be followed:
- When picking up an object from the floor, employees should lift from the knees, not the back.
- Employees should ask a co-worker or supervisor to help lift a heavy object.
- Employers should provide workers with a lifting aid, like a truck or cart, for lifting and moving heavy objects that could cause workers’ injuries.
Avoiding workstation and repetitive movement injuries is important to preventing disabling injuries. These actions should be taken:
- Employees should take frequent breaks and change position often.
- Employees should ensure that their chairs and computers are positioned properly. Their monitors should be adjusted to eye level.
- If a worker’s station does not fit him properly, an employer should provide him with an ergonomic chair, desk, computer monitor, or keyboard that will help correct the problem.
If you suffered a workplace injury as an office worker, you may suffer a surprisingly debilitating injury. Because your medical condition could develop over time, it may be more challenging to convince the insurance company that your injury was caused by your job or that it is as serious as you claim. Manfred Ricciardelli can help you fight for the benefits you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call our office or complete our online form.