In the news, we often hear of injuries that occur when people are working on construction sites or in a manufacturing plant. We do not, however, hear very often of people who have office jobs being injured while on the job. Nevertheless, people who work in office settings get injured while working on a regular basis. Below, we outline some of the most common office injuries and how you can prevent them from happening.
While it may seem that manual laborers are the ones more likely to sustain injury due to a fall, the Center for Disease Control reports that office workers are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to be injured in a fall at work than blue collar workers. Some of the most common causes of falls in the office include:
- Use of cellphones or reading while walking from one place to another
- Wet or newly waxed floors
- Insufficient lighting
- Reaching for something while sitting in an unstable chair
- Using a chair as a ladder to reach for objects on high shelves
- Tripping over electrical cords, desk drawers, loose carpeting, uneven flooring, or foreign objects that obstruct the office’s walkways
If you suffer a fall due to any of the above reasons, you are likely to sustain one or more of the following injuries:
- Muscle strains
- Broken bones
- Joint dislocation
- Traumatic brain injuries, of which the most likely to occur is a concussion
Because the consequences of sustaining a fall in the workplace can range from mild to quite severe, it is imperative that you take steps to prevent yourself from falling at work. Some steps to prevent falls at work include refraining from using your cellphone or reading while you are walking through the office, take note of any signs indicating that the floors are wet or have just been waxed and use caution in walking across them, reporting safety hazards such as insufficient lighting, loose carpeting, unstable seating, and the presence of foreign objects to the office manager or maintenance in a timely fashion, and using a step stool or ladder to reach objects on high shelves instead of using a chair.
Allergic Reactions and Respiratory Issues
Another type of common office injury are allergic reactions and the development of various respiratory conditions. In an office setting, allergic reactions and the development of respiratory conditions such as asthma occur because of poor ventilation and air quality in the office. When an office has poor ventilation, particles of allergens like dust and harmful bacteria float freely through the air, which is then breathed in by workers. When office workers breathe in these types of particles, those who are allergic to dust may have an allergic reaction that ranges from mild to rather severe and those who breathe in the bacteria may contract a variety of air-borne illnesses. Further, if an office has not had asbestos properly removed from the premises, poor ventilation can cause workers to breathe in asbestos fibers, which, in turn, can cause the worker to contract asbestosis, mesothelioma, or another type of cancer.
Ways to prevent office workers from having allergic reactions, developing respiratory disorders, and contracting respiratory infections include ensuring that regular cleaning of the office is conducted to remove any excess dust or bacteria, ensuring that the office’s HVAC system is regularly maintained, opening windows, and ensuring that the office’s property owner has properly removed any asbestos from the premises.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
In an office, most workers primarily sit at a desk and use a computer to complete job tasks. From repeated sitting, looking at a computer screen, and typing on a computer, office workers are likely to suffer any one of the following injuries:
- Chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Stiffness in legs and other lower extremities
To reduce your chances of suffering one of the above injuries, you can create a more ergonomic workspace to improve your posture, adjust the brightness of the computer screen, the work lamps on your desk, and any surrounding window blinds to prevent glare and dim the light around your desk, take short breaks from typing and walk around your workstation or office. With respect to creating a more ergonomic workspace, you can raise your chair, use an exercise ball as a chair, lower or raise your computer screen according to your height so that you do not have to tilt your head up and down while typing on your computer, and using a standing desk.
Contact an Edison Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your Office Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced workplace accident attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.C. represent clients in Edison, Point Pleasant, Woodbridge, Freehold, and all across New Jersey. Call (732) 709-7992 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, and we also have offices in Brick, Freehold, and Point Pleasant, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.