When you think of an office, you typically do not see it as a dangerous place to work. The biggest emergency you have probably ever come across is running out of teabags or having a sandwich mysteriously disappear from the fridge. However, workplace accidents in offices are more common than people believe and many workers do not know what their responsibilities are in terms of keeping themselves safe, as well as what the employer’s responsibilities are. Most accidents that occur are ones that could have easily have been prevented.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
This is the most common type of injury in most settings, but mainly in an office. Slips usually occur due to a wet surface, so there should always be a wet floor sign whenever there has been a spillage or leak to ensure safety. Trips often happen due to trailing electrical wires from things such as computers, printers, etc. If there are lots of electrical devices, the wires should be kept away from the walkways to prevent injury. Falls can happen for both reasons, or from using office ladders to reach documents that may be filed too high. Ladders should always be checked for safety, as even a fall from a small height could cause serious damage. If any of these have happened and you don’t believe it was your fault, seek advice.
Repetitive Strain Injury
This is an injury you may have heard of, or may even have, without knowing. Repetitive strain injury can happen in an office due to sitting or staring at a computer for long periods and excessive typing or writing (although it’s uncommon to have paper notes anymore!). Employers should provide ergonomically appropriate office equipment, replace any broken equipment, cater to any disabilities of staff, provide ergonomic training and encourage regular breaks. You can also help prevent the risk of repetitive strain injuries by doing desk exercises and follow correct procedures on how to sit properly at a desk.
This may seem like a bizarre injury with regards to working in an office, but many cabinets are built high to hold all the documentation needed. This means more chances of things coming down on you, especially if you struggle to reach up high. Many employers fail to provide ladders for those who cannot reach files that are stored slightly higher, meaning employers are straining themselves trying to get things that may be out of their reach. Items should be stored at eye level and in suitable storage cabinets. Other injuries can also include shelves that have become unstable as more paperwork has been filed and have finally collapsed. As an office is a place you wouldn’t expect a falling object, there is more chance of an injury occurring.
Remember to always keep yourself safe and report anything broken to a manager immediately. You are in charge of keeping yourself safe, as well as your employer. Report any accidents or injuries, however minor, immediately to keep others safe.