Safety tips to avoid work-related injuries in the office
The office presents various hazards that differ from other lines of work. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics over 80,000 office and administrative workers suffer on the job injuries each year and a majority could have been prevented if the proper steps and modifications were taken. The leading types of disabling accidents that occur within the office are the result of falls, strains, and over-exertion, falling objects, striking against objects, and being caught in or between objects. Here are the top 5 office hazards and how to prevent them.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
The disabling injury rate of falls among office workers is 2 to 2.5 times higher than the rate for non-office employees. The good news is that falls are preventable:
- Look before you walk — make sure the walkway is clear.
- If you’re done with a drawer, close it immediately.
- Don’t stretch to reach something while seated. Get up instead.
- Report any loose carpeting, electrical cords, etc. to someone who can have them fixed.
- Help keep the office fall-proof. This means cleaning up spills from the floor (even if you didn’t spill it), picking up objects that are out of place, etc.
- Use a stepladder, not a chair, if you need to reach something overhead.
Lifting items, even if they do not seem heavy, can cause strain on the body creating back issues. Take these precautions when lifting:
- Take a balanced stance; feet placed shoulder-width apart. When lifting something from the floor, squat close to the load.
- Grip the object with your whole hand, rather than only with your fingers.
- Lift by straightening your legs. Let your leg muscles, not your back muscles, do the work. Tighten your stomach muscles to help support your back.
- Never twist when lifting. When you must turn with a load, turn your whole body, feet first.
- To set something down, use the same body mechanics designed for lifting.
- One size does not fit all, have adjustable chairs, workplaces, monitor stands etc. to accommodate a wide range of employees.
- Ensure employees are trained in how to properly adjust furniture and equipment to meet their needs properly.
- Use a document holder so your papers can be kept at the same level as your computer monitor.
Almost every process in any office today relies on equipment that runs on power and is potentially hazardous if improperly used or not maintained regularly. Fortunately, most of the electrical hazards can be easily controlled with a little caution and periodic checks.
- Even when using a surge protector, make sure the electrical load is not too much for the circuit.
- Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances. Never plug in more than one high-wattage appliance at a time.
- Unplug appliances when not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock and fire.
- Inspect electrical cords once a month to ensure they are not frayed, cracked or otherwise damaged.
- Do not run electrical cords through high-traffic areas, under carpets or across doorways.
Office hazards can be easy to overlook, but by assuring you are always using healthy habits they can be avoided. Checking yourself on posture and taking a break when necessary will help you avoid any ergonomic issues. Getting your co-workers to help you check for office for any potential hazards and having routine checkups will keep your office safe for everyone.
At Nova Medical Centers we specialize in Occupational Health. From our outstanding services to our convenient electronic systems, we provide the best care for employees who need our help. We pride ourselves on helping others. If you happen to get injured on the job or contract any illnesses, just stop by one of our clinics. We have over 48 facilities across Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Indiana and we are constantly striving to provide the best care for America’s workforce.
Written by Andrea Araujo