Here are some possible hazards you need to consider if you work in an office, and here is how you can address them:
Many office workers have been injured as a result of trying to lift heavy objects off high shelves. SOLUTION
Ask for help. Never store heavy objects on upper shelves.
Workers have been struck by others suddenly opening doors into their paths, or had collisions on blind corners. SOLUTION
Don’t stand behind a door that could suddenly swing open. Even if you are run off your feet, don’t literally run. Ask your supervisor about having mirrors installed on corners where hallways meet.
Using the wrong tools can cause injury. SOLUTION
If you need a ladder, don’t use a chair as a substitute – especially an office chair on wheels. Don’t use your fingers to remove staples.
Electrical wiring introduces numerous potential hazards, including the risk of fire and electrocution if circuits are overloaded, and tripping hazards if wiring is snaked across an office floor. SOLUTION
If you have more appliances than plugs, tell your supervisor, mentioning the potential fire hazard. Also point out any extension cords that are being used as permanent wiring and suggest calling an electrician.
You are aching after spending hours at your desk. SOLUTION
Ensure you are sitting up straight. If your chair is older than you are, ask about getting a more supportive one. Get up and move around periodically. You can also stretch your hands, wrists, feet and legs at your desk.
You are constantly stressed out. SOLUTION
Don’t work through your lunch breaks. Get out of the office and go for a walk. Talk to your friends, family or your doctor about possible ways of controlling stress.
You suspect someone is stalking you. SOLUTION
Notify your supervisor and the police.
Millions of people across North America go to work in offices every day and never think they might become injured or ill because of an incident or exposure to hazardous substances that lie beyond the office door.
While offices aren’t high on anyone’s list of dangerous workplaces, office workers do become injured or sick because of work-related events.
Consider these examples:
A female office employee suffers hip and lower back injuries after an improperly assembled chair collapses. She is later diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition with symptoms including muscle pain and fatigue. She is awarded $1.5 million.
A woman who was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend is fatally shot by him at her University of Washington workplace. He had warned her he would kill her and she obtained a restraining order against him. However, police could not find him to serve the order.
FILING CABINET MISHAP
A five-drawer filing cabinet resting on soft carpet tips forward onto a desk, grazing a worker. He survives with scrapes to his side.