Causes of and Contributory Factors to Office Injuries

Nov 3, 2016 by

Many think that office settings are much safer places where employees or workers can complete their tasks while sitting in a comfortable chair in a climate-controlled room. However, though not as dangerous as construction sites, law enforcement work, or health care environments, office setting hazards are surprisingly numerous, presenting their own unique risks that continue to injure thousands of unsuspecting and careless employees every year.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’ Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report which says that there were more than 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the private industry in 2013. The report also says that the most common causes of injuries in offices include:

  • Falls, which can be due to slipping or tripping. There are many contributory factors to falls, such as: files, boxes and other items piled up along walkways; colliding with someone; marble or tiled floor which can be very slippery; and standing on a chair, especially a rolling office chair. In 2008, an estimated 25,790 workers were injured due to fall accidents;
  • Improper storing of office items, which may be made by piling materials too high, disorderly piling of things, resulting to blocked doors, fire-fighting equipment or fire exits, and placing very heavy objects on high shelves;
  • Incorrect lifting of large and/or heavy objects, resulting to overexertion or strains;
  • Improper lighting, poor indoor ventilation and air quality;
  • Cluttered electrical wiring. This include extension cords, computer wires or headphone wires;
  • Unwanted sound or noise, which is often caused by human voices. Noise is a clear source of interference, annoyance and major distractions, especially to those engaged in mental activities, such as writing and/or researching. Noise can reduce performance, as well as increase errors, in activities that greatly require mental concentration. Affected individuals often resort to means that will minimize unwanted noise as much as possible, like using headphones for music that will help drown the unwanted noise. This means, however, is not always effective as it can lead to unnoticed dangers that the concerned individual may sustain injuries from; and,
  • Workplace violence.

As explained in the website of the law firm Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, thinking that office workers are immune to workplace injuries because the physical strain for the bulk of work associated with an office environment is minimal as compared to the labor in other fields a dangerous misconception. This is why even office workers are covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance – to enable them to apply for benefits in case they get injured on the job.

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