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Common work hazards in office environments

It's not just people who work with machinery and tools that can get injured in the workplace. Even those who work in office environments can be unaware of the dangers around them. Although the most common accidents in the office include slips and trips, there are several other types of common injuries that are less obvious but just as dangerous.

Workspace ergonomics injury

You'd think that sitting at a desk all day couldn't possibly be harmful, but that's not the case. Some of the most common injuries stem from workspaces without ergonomic considerations. If a worker spends hours a day at a desk at a computer, any repetitive movement or poor posture can eventually lead to ergonomic strains and issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Talk to your employer and ensure that your workspace:

  • Has an adjustable chair which allows your feet to sit flat on the ground and supports your back
  • Allows you to sit up straight at your desk with a supported back and arms at a 90-degree angle
  • Keeps your head and neck at a comfortable position by adjusting your screen so you are looking slightly below eye level, but not far down or up
  • Supports for your wrists when using your keyboard and mouse to prevent wrist strain

Eye strain

Jobs which require a worker to be at a computer all day don't just present ergonomic issues - looking at screens for hours every day can be harmful to your eyes. As mentioned before, make sure your monitor is at a comfortable level for your eyes (which is slightly below eye level) and neck. But your space should also:

  • Have the correct lighting, i.e. a brighter light for someone reading off of papers or darker for someone using a monitor
  • Use screens that reduce or eliminate glare
  • Increase the size of fonts and other items on your screen

Office air quality

Most people have gripes with the air temperature in the office from time to time - too hot, too cold or too humid. However, the air circulating can cause other health issues. Poor indoor air quality contributes to occupational asthma, as well as other breathing issues like chemical sensitivity and allergies.

Work with your employer to ensure:

  • Ventilation systems are working and checked regularly by a professional
  • Heat and air conditioning filters are regularly changed or cleaned to eliminate respiratory irritants
  • The fabrics, carpets and other surfaces which can catch dust, dirt, pollen and other airborne irritants are cleaned as often as possible to remove any buildup
  • Bathrooms, kitchens and other common areas are disinfected often, including sinks, toilets, refrigerators and tables where meals are eaten

What if I've already been injured at work?

If you've been injured or developed an illness due to hazards in your workplace, be sure to let your employer know the problem immediately. If steps haven't been taken to ensure you and your fellow workers are safe in the office and you've become injured, contact an attorney today. You could be eligible for workers' compensation or other compensation for your injuries.

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