What Is the Most Common Injury in an Office?
When most of us think of someone getting hurt at work, we picture a construction or agricultural worker as the victim. Those may be the two industries with the most workplace injuries, but they are far from the only ones. Tech workers are injured in offices across the United States far more often than you may expect. You may even be reading this now because it happened to you.
According to one survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., of the households surveyed that had a family member who had been hurt on the job, 38% were white-collar workers. From trip accidents caused by tangles of cords to carpal tunnel syndrome, the average tech worker faces many potential dangers in the office.
The Two Most Common Types of Injuries
Tech workers are most likely to suffer these types of injuries, and maybe you already have. If either of these sound familiar, it’s time to improve your safety regulations in the workplace.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slip, trip, and fall hazards don’t discriminate between blue-collar and white-collar workers. Most offices can have the same conditions that can cause many of these accidents, including puddles of liquid that aren’t cleaned up, obstacles in walkways, and loose rugs or mats. If you work in a cramped space like some server rooms, the close quarters may put you even more at risk.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Computer workers are more likely to get repetitive strain injuries than any other group but assembly line workers. IT professionals and other tech workers are likely to develop this type of injury in their hands, wrists, and arms because we tend to overuse our keyboard and mouse. If your wrists are aching and you’re ignoring it, you could have an RSI that you’re making worse.
How to Make an Office Safer
Reducing tech worker injuries isn’t the only reason your company’s owners and management should update and improve their safety policies. They should also do it to save money. The more their employees report injuries, the higher their workers’ comp insurance premiums will be. For the safest possible workplace, follow these steps.
- Get your cords under control: Practice extension cord safety, and make sure your other cords are well-organized. You can wrap them with zip ties to keep them out of the way or tape them down so they aren’t a tripping hazard.
- Use caution wet floor signs: When someone spills their coffee, the area needs to be clearly marked until maintenance can clean it up. Speaking of which, make a policy for notifying maintenance right away.
- Check your rugs: If there are any places where your rugs are loose, pay a professional to repair them. If you have any rugs or mats with edges that can make someone trip, replace them.
- Replace your light bulbs: Areas that don’t have adequate lighting can increase your chances of tripping and falling. Make sure every area of the office is well-lit.
You should also do whatever you can to reduce repetitive strain injuries. Have a meeting and discuss how you can prevent these injuries, and invest in mice and keyboards that are designed to reduce strain. You could also include information in your newsletter about improving posture and preventing injuries.
If You’ve Already Been Injured
One group of workers compensation lawyers has warned, once you agree to a settlement with a workers’ compensation insurance carrier, you can never go back and modify, change, or amend your claim. Even if you discover later on that your injury has worsened and you need further treatment, the door to your case will be closed.
If you are injured and you need to negotiate a settlement, having a lawyer’s help is essential. You should never sign anything or give workers’ comp any information without speaking to an attorney first. You might inadvertently give the claims adjuster a statement they can use against you to justify offering you less than fair compensation.
If you haven’t already seen a doctor or reported your injury to your supervisor, you should do both things right away. Not only can it protect your health, it can protect your ability to get an adequate settlement if you end up filing a workers’ comp claim.