If you are like most people, you may feel that the stationary work environment in a typical office setting might appear safe and secure. Indeed, a generic office might come off as a relatively low-risk place to be, due to the lack of heavy equipment, dangerous liquids, or other common hazards.
Nevertheless, despite the chances of accidents being low at first glance, they are far from nonexistent. Being informed about possible accidents and having a workers’ compensation coverage is therefore essential to preserve your financial and physical well-being as an employee. Employers also have to take good care to reduce the chances of accidents.
To find out more about the possible hazards that would qualify for a workers’ compensation claim, read on!
What are some common work-related injuries in the office setting?
Some of the most frequent work injuries happen when you least expect them. You could be just entering the office, sitting in a chair, reaching a folder from a high cabinet, or crossing the hallway to pour some water. You can divide possible accidents into a couple of major groups:
According to the National Safety Council, falls, trips and slips are the most frequent office accidents and are responsible for the majority of injuries in this setting.
There are several possible scenarios, including:
- Tripping over chairs, tables, and boxes
- Using chairs instead of ladders, and falling off
- Slipping on wet floors, especially when they’re not properly marked
Major factors that increase the chances of falls are the layout of the office, visibility, level of clutter and cleanliness, and preventative measures. While most of the injuries result from falling on hard surfaces, there could be injuries that result from objects falling from high shells as well.
These injuries happen due to prolonged exposure to anatomically and ergonomically inconvenient work settings.
The most common injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by typing for long hours
- Tendonitis in the wrist, elbow, or shoulder
- Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Lower back pain
These injuries are often the result of sitting in an uncomfortable position for too long or using a computer mouse and keyboard without proper support. Other causes include lifting heavy objects or not having proper furniture that would support the back and neck.
Injuries caused by air quality and fire hazards
While falls and ergonomic injuries are the most common office accidents, there are other possible scenarios that can cause serious harm.
- Inhalation of toxic fumes or chemicals
- Electric shocks
These injuries happen due to the negligence of the employer or a third party. For example, if the office space is not properly ventilated, it might cause health problems for employees down the line.
What should you do to reduce the chances of injuries in the workspace?
If you want to reduce the chances of some of the most common injuries in a typical office setting, having an ergonomically correct workstation is vital.
Here are some of the rules both employees and employers should follow in order to set up a safe workspace:
- Make sure that your chair is adjusted so that your feet are flat on the floor, your thighs are positioned horizontally, backrest supports your lower back. If necessary, use a footrest.
- Ensure that keyboard and chair height are adjusted to allow that elbows are kept at a 90-degree angle.
- Adjust computer monitor height, ensuring that the top of the screen is at eye level.
- Everyday motions, such as stapling or typing, should be made with the least amount of physical force possible.
- Include useful tools such as a document holder to keep all your papers in level with your table.
- Ensure all staff members are trained about safety and that safety equipment is easy to reach
What should you do if you’ve suffered an office injury?
The first thing you should do is seek medical attention, even if the injury seems minor. After that, you should inform your supervisor about the accident and file a workers’ compensation claim. This will help you get the benefits and coverage you need to recover from the injury.
Keep in mind that some office injuries might not be immediately apparent. For example, if you’ve been sitting in an uncomfortable position for too long, you might not notice the pain until the next day. In these cases, it’s still important to seek medical attention and inform your supervisor as soon as possible.
Doing so will help you get the benefits and coverage you need to recover from the injury. If you do encounter any issues with the insurance company or your employer, you have a right to hire the best workers’ comp attorney. This way, you’ll be well prepared to get the full monetary compensation you’re entitled to.