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Office Injuries

Office occupations such as secretaries, administrative staff and people working in desk job roles seem a lot safer in their environment compared to a blue collar worker such as a tradie or a fly in, fly out mining worker.

However, this may not be the case because office workers still have to deal with the potential hazards of the office. If the employer is irresponsible and fails to provide the right safety practices to their employees then they run the risk of being sued in court for negligence.

Make sure you speak to an accredited specialist in personal injuries about your legal options.

What are the most common injuries that occur in the office?

Back Injuries

One of the most common injuries within the office is back strain. Sitting on a chair, especially a poorly designed one can place a lot of pressure on the back muscles. This leads to back pain and chronic stiffness in the upper and lower back, as well as the spinal cord.

When a person sits for prolonged periods of time, it may cause the spinal discs to compress and cramp, as well as cause hip inflexibility. This further aggravates the stress levels in the lower back.

It is important that anyone who is expected to sit for extended amounts of time, take a break every now and then to stand up, stretch the muscles, and ease the tension on their back.

Migraines

The exact cause of migraines is unsure. However, it seems that other injuries only serve to aggravate the occurrence of migraines.

A migraine can be a distracting injury as well as painful. This is very important to consider since a distracted employee may also be more susceptible to accidents and injury.

Communication with supervisors and management staff is key if there are any issues that prevent a worker from doing their job.

Neck Injuries

Neck injuries can occur when prolonged computer usage in the office makes the worker keep their neck in a position that is unmoved for long periods of time. This is especially aggravated if their computer screen is set too high.

Proper ergonomic furniture, as well as displaying the computer monitor properly at eye reading level is crucial to avoid this injury.

Repetitive Stress Injury (RPI)

RPI occurs from constant, repeating motions that put stress on tendons and ligaments. The most common type in the office occurs from typing injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

These injuries lead to pain and can severely hinder the ability to undertake even simple daily activities. The ligaments become inflamed and swell up, which is why it is so important for workers to take frequent short breaks to prevent their body from being overworked.

Blurry Vision

Staring at the screen for prolonged periods of time can put a lot of strain on the eyes, leaving them dry and tired. Blurry vision becomes a serious problem as the worker starts to expose themselves to higher risk, such as driving home.

It is important that an employee take time to rest their eyes away from the computer monitor, as well as set their display settings to comfortable levels.

Slip & Fall Injuries

The office can be a hazardous area that can cause risks from tripping over other people and objects such as loose carpeting, power cords, random items on the ground and spillages.

Injuries from slip and falls range from minor musculoskeletal injuries to very critical injuries if a worker for example were to fall and hit their head on a  desk.

Lifting Accidents

Sometimes, it is hard to determine what something weighs simply from just looking at it. Many people are injured while reaching for or lifting an item only to find that it is significantly heavier than they thought.

Such accidents can lead to strains in muscles to the back, or neck, or even a head injury (such as a traumatic brain injury) if a heavy item was to fall from above height onto their head.

Workers should be restricted from lifting anything from shoulder height unless they can be sure of its weight. A workplace training program should also be used so that everyone is informed of the risks they take by not adhering to proper safety procedures.

Psychological Injuries

The busy nature of an office can lead to high amounts of stress. If left unchecked, these issues can become more serious in the future. Psychological injuries in the office are also often synonymous with other internal problems such as a bullying and harassment. It is important that a clear policy is put in place to deal with those issues.

Depression is also a common issue with office workers. A clear work/life balance should be established by the worker in order to ensure they continue to be productive and happy at work. More importantly, this is important to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with friends and family.

What should my employer be doing to keep me safe in the workplace?

Every workplace is different. However, every employer of an office based environment has a duty of care to ensure that the work area is safe for their employees. Some of the things that they should be doing include:

  1. 1) Carrying out a job safety analysis with respect to the job duties of workers.
  1. 2) Restricting office workers from moving or sometimes even using heavy equipment without assistance. This is particularly important if the duties required by the worker are predominantly in succession or repetitive in nature.
  1. 3) Provide detailed and appropriate training and guidance on manual handling and how to otherwise safely carry out their work.
  1. 4) Warn their staff of high risk activities involved with manual handling such as the risk of injury associated with lifting excessive weights, reaching, lifting things away from the body, weights that shift (like liquids), overhead lifting and twisting, etc.
  1. 5) Restricting workers from lifting heavy items above shoulder height.
  1. 6) Implementing and enforcing safer procedures and systems of work, with lighter options
  1. 7) Encouraging a flexible work environment where possible such as providing regular breaks, allowing employers to change duties so that they are not exposed to the same repetitive tasks using the same muscles for long periods of time.
  1. 8) Encourage employees to make multiple trips at reduced loads as opposed to them trying to do one trip carrying everything.
  1. 9) Regularly checking, monitoring and supervising staff while they are carrying out their duties to ensure that are being done in a safe manner.
  1. 10) Providing adequate time to sufficiently and safely complete their duties

Are you an office worker who has been injured in an accident?

Do not hesitate in contacting East Coast Injury Lawyers today for a free, no obligation consultation so you can be made aware of your legal rights. Our accredited specialists in personal injury have experience in both plaintiff law and insurance defence. This can be a helpful resource to help you make a decision on whether or not to pursue a claim.

Do not settle for lawyers who are inexperienced in the field. If your injury prevents you from working, fill out our case review form and we will contact you as soon as possible.

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