When you're working in an office, you may not think that you're prone to injuries. Sadly, there are still a number of injuries that you could suffer from working in an office. Anything from poor ergonomics to faulty electrical outlets can result in employee injuries.
One thing that people often overlook is how important ergonomics are in the work environment. From adding padding to the floors where people walk for hours on end to making sure seating is designed for people to sit the most comfortably, good ergonomics do make a difference.
How can employers take steps to help employees avoid injuries related to strain in an office?
One thing they can do is to create an evaluation plan looking at the overall work environment and changes that may help make it more comfortable for employees.
After identifying the baseline, the employers can then start making changes to make the work environment more comfortable and suited to employees.
What are some common ergonomics-related injuries?
With poor ergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders are common. These are disorders of the nerves, tendons, joints, spinal discs, cartilage and muscles.
These conditions, when related to work, are caused by the work environment and worsen when performing work.
Here's an example. If employees are sitting oddly at their desks and working at a computer, they may develop strain in their shoulders, necks and backs. They may suffer from tendinitis or carpal tunnel from poor posture when typing for hours on end.
Musculoskeletal disorders result in around 70 million visits to the doctor in the USA each year. It's estimated that around 130 million health care encounters are linked to these disorders.
What can you do to avoid serious injuries from poor ergonomics?
The first thing to do is to bring the poor conditions to the attention of your employer. They need to see that you are concerned about the way you feel while working. If you start to have pain that is exacerbated by work, report it. You can seek early medical advice at that point and ask for workers' compensation to cover your medical expenses.
Treating repetitive-strain injuries and other injuries related to poor ergonomics early on can reduce the risk of employees having to leave the job permanently. Employers should be willing to file a workers' compensation claim if repetitive-strain injuries or others are suspected, especially when they're obviously tied to regular work in their office.