An accident can happen in any place and at any time, even in the office. On the surface, your office may look safe enough, but make no mistake, you can still get injured there. Accidents in the office often happen when you are performing ordinary, everyday tasks. Even something as seemingly innocuous as typing with more force than necessary, or routinely slouching in your desk chair can result in chronic injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back strain.
Injuries like these can plague you for the rest of your life and are most often preventable. In fact, millions of American workers are treated for preventable office-related accidents every year. Knowing what behavior can lead to an office-related accident is the best way to prevent one from happening.
Office safety actually begins before you get to your desk. You need to be careful in public areas outside of your building like parking lots, walkways, and staircases. These places can be especially hazardous when they are dimly lit. Darkness can conceal obstacles that you can trip and fall over.
Bad weather can also make things worse. Fallen precipitation can make walkways slippery and dangerous. So walk carefully and don’t be in a rush when walking in these conditions. Also, as you move inside, you need to be sure to leave rains, snow, and sleet at the door by wiping your feet sufficiently. Wet shoes can be as slippery as ice skates on waxed office floors.
Inside The Office
Our bodies are incredibly adaptable. Whether it’s tropical heat or the cold of the arctic, there are not many environments our bodies cannot adjust to. Some environments, however, are harder to adapt to than others. In fact, you enter one of the most difficult environments for our bodies to adapt to everyday––your office. If you’re not observant, tasks that you perform in your office every day can injure or disable you.
In the fast-paced and often stressful environment of an office, people can forget about their most important workplace responsibility––their safety. Office safety is often disregarded because people don’t feel that are any hazards in the office to be seriously concerned about. However, nearly 40,000 office workers across the country sustain disabling injuries every year.
An office worker can be injured in many different ways, including:
- Slips and falls
- Back strain from lifting objects incorrectly
- Punctures and lacerations from using office equipment carelessly
- Ergonomic-related injuries from positioning their body improperly
- Horseplay related injuries from playing around in the office
Most injuries are sustained when an employee is engaged in some type of unsafe behavior i.e. running through the office, standing on chairs, not paying attention to what they are doing, etc. However, the root cause of these injuries is poor safety decisions made by well-intentioned office workers.
Being committed to your personal safety in the office means doing things the safe and proper way, rather than cutting corners so that you can hurry up and finish. Sometimes, the fastest way to perform a task is the most dangerous way. Having the proper attitude towards safety will help you avoid being injured because you were rushing, distracted, or taking an unnecessary risk.
But, along with having a good attitude towards safety, you also need to be committed to maintaining good housekeeping practices. Good housekeeping is essential to safety in any environment, and the office is without a doubt no exception to this rule. Keep corridors, stairs and the office floor free from clutter and be sure to properly bundle cables so that you don’t trip over them.
The majority of injuries that are sustained in the office could have been prevented had common sense and sound judgment been used. If you come across a safety hazard in the office, correct it immediately yourself, if you can. Otherwise, report it to somebody that can do something about it. If the danger cannot be addressed immediately, mark it sufficiently so that others are aware of it.
The bottom line is that there are many situations in the office that can prove to be unsafe and must be avoided at all times. Remember to keep your head in the game and avoid bad safety decisions that can have unintended negative consequences on your health and safety and those of your coworkers.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured in the office, you are entitled to certain benefits under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws. These benefits include payment for medical treatment, temporary disability benefits, and compensation for any permanent disability you have sustained. For more information or for assistance with filing a claim, contact an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney.