When we think of workplace safety, construction sites and manufacturing facilities are often the first things that come to mind.
However, an office also has safety hazards that should not be ignored. For instance, sitting at a desk and using keyboard day after day can lead to a whole host of chronic injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The negative health impacts of sedentary behavior and repetitive motion affect hundreds of thousands of American employees annually, resulting in billions of dollars in workers’ comp claims, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Offices aren’t free from other common hazards either. There are objects to trip on, floors that can get slick when wet and heavy items that can cause injury when lifted.
Consider the follow office safety hazards and how to mitigate them.
Slips, trips and falls
Slips, trips and falls are the most common type of workplace accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reality is, office employees are 2 to 2.5 times more prone to experiencing a disabling injury from a fall than non-office employees. The most standard causes of office falls, according to CDC data, include an open desk drawer, power cords, loose carpeting, items in walkways, unstable chairs, using a chair instead of a stepladder, wet floors and bad lighting.
Many of these hazards can be addressed by good housekeeping habits. Office employees should get in the habit of closing desk drawers, moving cords and other trip hazards, using stepladders and cleaning spills.
When bad lifting technique is used, it increases the chances the person will get hurt, even if they are lifting a small load, such as a stack of printer paper.
Before lifting anything, workers should check to see if it is too heavy for them to lift. Any lifting process should start by squatting down with the back kept as upright as possible. The item should be grasped using the entire hand, not just fingers, and held close to the body. It should then be lifted using the legs, not the arms or back. The legs should once again do most of the work when putting the item back down.
Repetitive motion, posture and sedentary issues
If any employee has a chair that’s too tall or a computer screen that is too low, it will cause strain after long-term use, particularly in the neck, back and shoulders. Employees should always be using a workstation that is sized properly. Keyboard wrist pads and other ergonomic measures should be used to combat carpal tunnel.
Research has shown that sitting for extended periods of time can cause many negative health effects. Therefore, employees should stand up and take regular breaks. If possible, employees should be given a desk that allows for standing while working.
At NSC Technologies, we’re marking National Safety Month by reminding job seekers to keep safety top of mind in all they do. If you’re currently looking for a new job opportunity, please contact us today to find out how we can be of assistance.