The leading type of disabling accidents that occur within the office are the result of falls, strains, overexertion, falling objects, striking against objects, and being caught in or between objects. One would normally expect the office to have the least amount of hazards, but in reality, they are just as common as outside in the workplace.
Fall into Safety!
Falls are the most common office accident, accounting for the greatest number of disabling injuries. The disabling injury rate of falls among office workers is 2 to 2.5 times higher than the rate for non-office employees. Some of the more common causes of office hazards are as follows:
- Falls from tripping over an open desk or file drawer;
- Bending while seated in an unstable chair;
- Tripping over electrical cords or wires;
- Slipping on wet floors;
- Using a chair or stack of boxes in place of a ladder; and
- Loose carpeting, objects stored in halls or walkways, and inadequate lighting
The following checklist can help stop a fall before it happens:
- Be sure the pathway is clear before you walk
- Close drawers completely after every use
- Avoid excessive bending, twisting, and leaning backward while seated
- Secure electrical cords and wires away from walkways
- Always use a stepladder for overhead reaching. Chairs should never be used as ladders.
- Clean up or report spills immediately
- Pick up objects co-workers may have left on the floor
- Report loose carpeting or damaged flooring
- Never carry anything that obscures your vision
Don’t Overwork Your Brain with Any Kind of Safety Strain!
Although a typical office job may not involve lifting large or especially heavy objects, it is important to follow the principles of safe lifting. Small, light loads (i.e., stacks of files, boxes of computer paper, books) can wreak havoc on your back, neck, and shoulders if you use your body incorrectly when you lift them. Backs are especially vulnerable; most back injuries result from improper lifting.
Running into Objects Lately?
Striking against objects is another cause of office injuries. Incidents of this type include:
- Bumping into doors, desks, file cabinets, and open drawers.
- Bumping into other people while walking.
- Striking open file drawers while bending down or straightening up.
- Striking against sharp objects such as office machines, spindle files, staples, and pins.
- Pay attention to where you are walking at all times, properly store materials in your work area and never carry objects that prevent you from seeing ahead of you.
Help Improve Productivity by Focusing on Ergonomics!
Ergonomics means fitting the workplace to the workers by modifying or redesigning the job, workstation, tool, or environment. Workstation design can have a significant impact on office workers health and well-being. There are a multitude of discomforts, which can result from ergonomically incorrect computer workstation setups. The most common complaints relate to the neck, shoulders, and back. Others concern the arms and hands and occasionally the eyes. For example, poorly designed chairs and/or bad postures can cause lower back strain; or a chair that is too high can cause circulation loss in the legs and feet.