Falls are the most common office-related accidents that cause serious injuries, but ergonomically incorrect workstations, improper lifting techniques, and workplace violence are some of the top hazards office workers face.
The CDC reports that office workers are 2.5 times more likely to suffer injuries from a fall than non-office workers. Falls in offices are generally caused by tripping over desk drawers that are left open, loose carpets, wires, or objects in hallways. Falls also happen when workers use chairs or other furniture in lieu of ladders, slip on wet floors, or use walkways and stairwells that are poorly lit.
Good office practices such as keeping hallways clear and well-lit; closing drawers, and providing ladders where hard-to-reach items are kept can help prevent falls in offices.
Incorrect lifting techniques can cause serious injuries to office workers. Even lifting small loads can cause back strain and injuries. The CDC recommends individuals:
- Lift with their knees and keep a straight back;
- Grip the whole object with their hand; and
- Place items on the ground by bending at the knees and keeping a straight back.
Ergonomically incorrect workstations can lead to serious injuries for office workers. For example, computers that are too high or chairs that don’t fit a person’s back can result in musculoskeletal problems in the back and neck. Workstations that do not bend a worker’s elbows at 90 degrees can cause issues with elbows and wrists (such as a carpal tunnel).
From threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide, no office worker is immune to the effects of workplace violence.The fourth leading cause of occupational fatalities for all workers in the United States, workplace violence is becoming increasingly common in offices.
To help combat workplace violence and prevent injuries or deaths, workers should follow their employer’s workplace violence prevention program, report suspicious behaviors, threats, or verbal abuse, and request that their employers install video surveillance, alarm systems, and extra lighting.