Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Preventing Injuries in the Office

Often, people think of workplace accidents as occurring on construction sites or in factories. However, just going to work in an office causes you to run the risk of incurring a workplace injury. Many of the injuries are due to things like poorly maintained equipment, or objects that people can trip over. Just sitting at a desk, working at a computer or talking on the phone can cause damage to the eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and pain in the back or neck. The longer people work, the greater the likelihood of injury. Let’s talk about various types of injuries and how to prevent them.


Falling is the most likely accident to occur in an office environment. Falls typically occur when a worker slips on a wet floor, trips over an object, reaches for something while occupying a chair that is unstable, or uses a chair as a ladder. To avoid falling in the office:

•    Clean up spills as they occur
•    If you see an object that’s out of place, move it
•    Get out of your chair when reaching for things
•    Report tripping hazards like loose carpet to the person responsible for fixing them
•    Don’t stand on chairs – use a stepladder
•    Watch where you’re going.

Remember, a fall is the type of injury that’s most likely to result in a disabling injury. You could end up being off work for a long time after a bad fall.

Colliding with Objects

Frequently, workers bump into things like file cabinets, copiers, desks, open doors, and of course, other people. They may also get hit by things that get dropped or fall from the tops of cabinets. Then there’s a danger of jamming your fingers in paper cutters or drawers, or getting caught in machinery. To avoid being injured by objects in the office:

•    Keep your fingers away from machinery and drawers
•    Keep your hair and jewelry away from machinery
•    Open doors carefully – someone could be standing on the other side
•    Stay alert and watch what you’re doing.

You can also enlist the help of your office manager in ensuring workplace safety. Suggest that he or she outline a policy for proper storage of objects, and make sure that machinery is equipped with safety guards.


Lifting, if done improperly, can result in injury. Your shoulders, neck and back are very vulnerable to injuries caused by lifting. To avoid lifting injuries:

•    Lift by squatting, and lift with your legs, not your back
•    Put things down the same way, using your legs instead of your back
•    Keep your back straight
•    Pick up smaller objects using your whole hand, not just the fingers.

Keep in mind that even small amounts of weight can cause injury if you don’t lift properly. If you’re in doubt, get someone to help you.

Ergonomic Injuries

If your workstation isn’t compatible with your body, you could develop problems with your shoulders, back and neck, and could also develop carpal tunnel syndrome or eyestrain. It’s important to make sure that your workstation is properly set up, and also to get up and move around for time to time. To avoid ergonomic injuries, you have to make sure that your workstation is set up properly. To do this:

Adjust your chair in such a way that your thighs are parallel with the floor, your feet rest comfortably on the floor, and your lower back is supported.

Make sure that when you’re typing, your wrists are straight, and your forearms are at a 90-degree angle.

Make sure that the top of your computer monitor’s screen is at eye level.

Ensure that the computer screen is glare-free.

Use as little motion and force as possible when stapling or typing.

Most injuries in the office, second to falls, are due to poor ergonomics. Make sure you’re not running the risk of repetitive stress injury or other issues due to a poorly designed workstation.

OCOS Web Developer

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