Employees who are employed in labor-intensive settings are at a high risk of suffering work-related injuries, but did you know that office employees are also at risk of suffering work injuries? The injuries in question may not be the same, but the likelihood of getting hurt in the work place is just as high if proper preventable measures are not in place.
Even if you are working indoors throughout the entirety of your 8-hour shift in a seated position, you are still susceptible of harming your neck, back, wrists, hands, and other areas. You may be wondering, “How is that possible?” This blog will answer that question by highlighting the most common office injuries / work injuries and how to avoid them.
What are the most common work injuries in the office?
Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, falls have been deemed the most common disabling injury in offices and happen at a 2 to 2.5 times higher rate than the fall rate for non-office employees1.
- Tripping over electrical cords or wires, poorly-positioned/loose carpeting and misplaced objects on the hallway/walkway
- Slipping as a result of wet floors, debris (fruits spilled), and uneven surfaces.
- Falls due to running in an office, reaching for something above-the-shoulder while seated in an unhinged chair, and using a chair instead of a ladder.
Incidentally, the common slip, trips and falls are preventable as long as proper measures are in place.
Below are tips on how to avoid falls in the office:
- Report any poorly-positioned/loose carpeting and loose electrical cords/wires to management.
- Misplaced objects may be picked up or disposed of to prevent falls
- Ask Management for a “Wet Floor” Caution Sign to ensure that staff and non-employees near the vicinity are aware of the hazard. Also, inform management that the floor should be cleaned promptly.
- Exercise extreme caution when reaching or bending when using a chair. Standing up and/or a ladder may be the safer option.
The issue with slips, trips and falls is that they can be swift and cause severe damage to the employee. Workers can suffer broken bones, head trauma, or even death in severe cases as a result of a fall. This is why it is important to always be cautious when walking, and avoid running in the workplace as much as possible.
Eyestrains are another common office injury. Although an eyestrain is defined more as a group of symptoms that are related to use of the eyes and not necessarily an injury, eyestrains are still one of the most common work-related issues that employees suffer from.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), the average U.S. workers spends about seven hours a day on computers at the office, and 58% of office workers have suffered digital eye strain or vision issues as a result of that2. People suffering from eyestrain may experience eye fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and other discomforts.
What causes Eyestrains? For office workers, it is a result of staring at electronic devices (computers, cellphones, and tablets) for long periods of time.
Preventing eyestrains is simple; take breaks from your digital or electronic device and look elsewhere. AOA recommends following a 20-20-20 rule (take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and see something that is about 20 feet away). AOA also recommends decreasing the glare on your computer or utilizing a glare filter, and blinking often.
Poor Workstation Ergonomics
Poor workstation ergonomics and repetitive movements are two other common workplace injuries that affect our musculoskeletal (neck, back, shoulders, arms, wrists, ankles) systems. Ergonomics is defined as the study of how people work and function in their environment. In this case, poor posture while sitting at an office desk may cause work-related back injuries.
While repetitive movement may not cause any issues at first, though over time, the risk of suffering from repetitive stress injury rises. For example, continually positioning and maneuvering your right-hand from your keyboard to your mouse may not cause pain at first, but gradually it can begin to cause a strain on your muscles. Poor posture is also a huge reason why employees suffer musculoskeletal problems as the act places stress on your spine
Below are tips on ways to improve your ergonomics in the workplaces:
- Take time to walk around and stretch your upper and lower extremities. This is why it is important to take your 10-minute breaks.
- Always maintain good posture; sit up with your back straight and shoulders back with your feet flat on the floor. Avoid slouching.
- Make sure your keyboard, mouse, phone and coffee mug are easily reachable from where you are siting.
- Adjust your wrist/hand position so that they are comfortably positioned to prevent any stress injuries. If you have suffered an injury, check out this blog for some rehab exercises.
For more information on how to avoid office injuries, call Healthpointe at (888) 719-8448 or visit us at Healthpointe.net. Don’t forget, you can also schedule an appointment!