5 Office Injuries to Look Out For
As a small business owner, taking a proactive look at office safety is one of the most important things you can do to protect your business. Let’s face it, accidents do happen, and unsafe working conditions can lurk anywhere. While construction sites and factory floors with heavy machinery pose obvious threats, office spaces have their own set of safety issues that need to be addressed too.
Even though injuries in an office setting might not seem as dramatic, they can be every bit as costly for employers. That’s why it’s imperative for small businesses to develop and apply safety related strategies to protect their employees and defend against potentially damaging costs.
Here are the top five causes of office injuries and what you can do to avoid them:
Slips and falls are not only the most common office accidents, but they are also responsible for causing the most disabling injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fall injuries create a considerable financial burden as well. For example, estimates for workers’ compensation and medical cost payouts associated with occupational fall incidents in 2015 total $50 billion. The good news is you can prevent most falls by making sure that your employees follow a few simple rules: close drawers when not in use, report loose carpeting, clean spills up promptly, keep walkways and aisles free of clutter, and use a stepladder—not a chair—if you need to reach something overhead. Check out our article “Prevent Trips and Falls” for more information!
Lifting and carrying loads can lead to injuries if not done properly. Before lifting, make sure that the load is not too much for your neck and back to lift safely. To lift safely, use your legs and not your back; keep your back in a straight position, take a balanced stance, and never twist when lifting. Stretch out beforehand- your body will thank you!
Fires can be devastating, and fire prevention needs to be addressed regularly. The average office contains more fire hazards than most managers realize. Workplaces are filled with combustible materials that if accidentally ignited could hurt your employees and destroy valuable documents and equipment.Office managers should conduct routine inspections to identify fire hazards and minimize them. Employee training is also critical. Make sure your team knows where the emergency exits are in your building and conduct regular fire drills with employees. Also, instruct some of your employees in the basic use of fire extinguishers and advise them of extinguisher locations in the office. If a fire emergency happens, these simple steps could save lives.
Poor lighting and computer screens can lead to eye strain and be a major source of vision-related problems and complaints. Placing monitors below eye level, and about two feet away from employees’ faces, can reduce eyestrain and glare. Following OSHA’s guidelines, encourage employees to take 10 minutes away from their screen for every hour spent in front of it. This is a quick and easy way to mitigate this issue.
Bad ergonomics and poorly fitted workstations can be a source of physical stress for your employees, and can even lead to injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013, Musculoskeletal Disorders cases (including Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and rotator cuff injuries) accounted for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases. For office workers, having a workstation optimized to one’s height and posture is one of the easiest ways to avoid an ergonomic related injury. That means your chair must support your back and be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the floor. Raise or lower the computer screen based on your height, and keep your wrists at a comfortable angle when typing or using a mouse.
Remember that Cerity is here to help you reduce risk and protect your business and your employees by getting you the workers’ comp insurance you need. Just like that™.