One might assume that people who work in offices are not at risk of getting injured at work. While it is true that office workers do not face the same types of injuries that construction workers or employees working at manufacturing sites or factories face, office workers do run the risk of suffering work-related injuries or illnesses that are specific to the environment they work in each day.

Oftentimes, employees suffer injuries because their office workspace is not designed in a way that is conducive to a high level of productivity. Simple equipment or furniture changes can provide a more comfortable workspace, leading to greater productivity and fewer injuries. A work station that is ergonomically pleasing – meaning that a work space is set up in a way that fits you and the job you do – can have the following results for employees:

  • Fewer headaches or eye strain
  • Reduced neck and back pain
  • Lower incidence of bursitis or tendon problems that are connected with repetitive tasks

How to Implement Proper Workstation Ergonomics to Reduce Injury Risk

poorly designed workstation can lead to musculoskeletal problems in your neck, back and shoulders. By following the guidelines below, as well as taking frequent breaks over the course of the day, you may reduce the risk of injury over time.

  • Adjust your chair so that your lower back is supported, your thighs are horizontal to the floor and your feet are flat.
  • Adjust your keyboard so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and your wrists are straight.
  • Make sure your computer monitor is at your eye level.
  • Use a document holder to keep all papers at the same level as your computer monitor.
  • Use the least amount of force possible when typing.
  • Adjust the lighting in the room so that there is no glare on the computer monitor.

Types of Workplace Hazards that Office Workers Face

When employers do not take the appropriate steps to ensure a safe working environment for employees, it can result in a range of injuries or illnesses due to the following reasons:

  • Physical Hazards: These can include falling objects, electrical cords, open file or desk drawers, uneven carpeting or flooring, or slippery surfaces.
  • Environmental Hazards: These can come in the form of airborne chemicals, noise, poor ventilation, bad lighting or broken equipment/furniture.
  • Task-Related Hazards: These include repetitive motions like using a keyboard, long hours of standing or sitting, inadequate rotation of tasks with not enough rest periods, lifting heavy items, poorly designed workspace and a sedentary work environment.
  • Psychological Hazards: This can result from too much stress or anxiety due to work pressures.

Common Types of Injuries

  • Slip and fall injuries: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that this is the most common type of office work accident, responsible for the most serious injuries. The most common causes of office falls include:
    – Tripping over an open desk, electrical cords, loose carpeting or objects in walkways
    – Reaching for something while seated in an unstable chair
    – Using a chair instead of a ladder
    – Poor lighting
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is a medical condition that occurs when the nerves in the hands and fingers become compressed. Specifically, pressure on the median nerve in the wrist is what causes this condition. Common symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, difficulty with fine finger movements and coordination. It results from overuse or constant forceful, repetitive actions.
  • Sprains and strains: This type of injury usually results from a sudden twist of the body or an awkward movement of a joint. The most common areas affected include the back, neck, knee, ankle and wrist.
  • Lifting injuries: If not done properly, lifting even small loads like reams of paper can result in injuries to your back, neck and shoulders. Be mindful to use proper body positioning when lifting, and use your legs – not your back – when you are putting a heavy object down.
  • Vision problems: Staring at a computer for a prolonged period of time can strain the muscles in the eyes, causing visions problems.
  • Hearing loss: Employees can suffer from hearing damage or complete hearing loss when exposed to hazardous noise over an extended period of time.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers

If you or a loved one has suffered a work related injury or illnessBaltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will work tirelessly to secure the optimal financial compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.