Millions of people today work in an office environment, and believe that they are completely safe. While there is no doubt that the hazards of an office job are far fewer, and typically less severe, than those in many other industries, workplace safety should still be a priority.
The following five office injuries impact people every day, and can have a serious impact on their life both at work and outside the office. Taking steps to reduce the risk of these injuries can help to keep employees safe so they can remain working productively long into the future.
1. Ergonomic Injuries
Most office workers spend hours a day seated at their desk working at a computer. While at first glance this can seem like an extremely safe job, that is not necessarily always the case. When employees don’t sit and work correctly, it can result in a variety of different issues including back problems, joint pain, repetitive movement injuries and much more.
Employers can do a lot to help ensure their employees are as safe as possible by providing them the right equipment to work safely. Studies have proven that those who work at ergonomically friendly workstations suffer far fewer health problems. Some great things that employers can do include the following:
- Ergonomic Chairs – Chairs that provide proper back and arm support are much safer for employees who sit for hours at a time. Employers should always invest in these higher quality chairs to ensure their employees are protected.
- Ergonomic Keyboards – Traditional keyboards can put unnecessary stress on the fingers, wrist, and forearms. To avoid these issues, employers should purchase, or at least offer to purchase, ergonomically friendly keyboards that help to position the hands properly.
- Ergonomic Training – Ergonomically friendly equipment is not effective if the employees don’t use it correctly. Offering training on how to work in a way that is safe can offer a lot of protection.
- Encourage Breaks – No matter what type of equipment is used, sitting down for 8 hours per day is never healthy. Encouraging employees to stand up for a few minutes every hour, and take their breaks throughout the day, will help them avoid many injuries.
2. Damage to the Eyes
Looking at a computer screen for eight or more hours per day can cause serious eye strain, potentially resulting in long term damage to your vision. This type of eye strain can be just as damaging to vision as exposure to certain chemicals or other contaminants that take place in other work environments.
To avoid eye damage in office environments, employees should be encouraged to wear ‘blue-blocking’ glasses that filter out some of the strain causing light. Having modern monitors that are positioned properly on the desk can also help to protect the eyes of employees as well.
3. Fire Related Injuries
Fire safety is extremely important for office safety. With more than 17,000 office fires taking place each year, fire safety is critical. It is even more essential because of the fact that many offices exist in multi-floor buildings where it is possible to become trapped on the upper floors without any way to escape.
Making sure that the office is up to date with all the latest fire safety requirements is a great start. This would include a fire suppression system, working fire extinguishers, and much more. In addition, having multiple fire drills per year will help to ensure that everyone in the office knows where they need to go, and what they need to do, in the event of a fire related emergency.
4. Slip and Fall Accidents
This is one type of accident that is a threat to just about all work environments, including office space. There are many different things in an office environment that can cause people to slip, trip, and fall. Employers should make an effort to identify and eliminate as many of these hazards as possible so that everyone is able to walk through the office as safety as possible.
Some common causes of slips and trips in office environments include the following:
- Cables & Wiring – Many offices have computer cables running throughout the building, and sometimes along the floor.
- Loose Carpeting – If carpeting is getting worn it can create trip hazards. This can happen at any area of the carpet, but is especially common in the seams.
- Stairs – Stairs present a risk for falling, and also increase the danger involved.
- Wet Floors – Of course, wet floors are always a risk. While many office environments are carpeted, that is not always the case. In addition, there are always some areas with uncarpeted flooring, such as bathrooms.
5. Workplace Violence
While not common, it can be potentially very dangerous. Office environments, like all workplaces, need to watch out for disgruntled employees, customers, vendors, or others who may become violent. Having the ability to lock doors and keep people out can be an important way to stay safe. In addition, helping employees improve their mental health and limit stress in their life can reduce the risk of an employee becoming violent.
It is also important to train employees to always try to deescalate conflict as much as possible. When a customer comes in who is upset about something, the first step should be to try to get them to calm down and deal with the situation rationally. If this becomes impossible, employees should remove themselves from the situation and contact the police to handle the problem.
Focusing on Office Safety
While it doesn’t get as much attention as workplace safety in other industries, office employees need to take safety very seriously. A little bit of training and effort ahead of time can help to keep every safe in their day to day jobs.
Everyone in the office, including both employers and employees has a responsibility to keep themselves and everyone who works around them safe. When we all work together, the risk of accidents and injuries in an office environment can be minimized.