Common hazards in an office

Office workers may be exposed to injury-inducing hazards because of poor workspace setup, bad housekeeping and high-shelf storage.

Most North Carolina office workers may not think of their workplace as being dangerous. However, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, there are tens of thousands of non-fatal injuries reported annually due to health risks and accidents caused by an office work environment.

Improper workspace setup

Office workers spend a lot of time sitting at a desk and working on a computer. If the lighting is bad or the ergonomics of the chair are not quite right, it can lead to eye strain or posture problems. These issues may be combated by adjustable workstations. Employees should try to set their workspace up in such a way that they can do the following:

  • Maintain a relaxed posture while working.
  • Keep both feet firmly on the ground.
  • Type without needing to reach too far away.
  • Keep the elbows at a 90-degree angle while working on the computer.
  • View the computer screen without excessive glare.

Setting up a workspace with ergonomics in mind can help reduce the chances of musculoskeletal injuries taking place.

Bad housekeeping

One of the biggest dangers of an office is tripping and falling. Bad housekeeping can provide obstacles for employees. For example, loose carpeting can lead to tripping. If a coworker keeps his or her desk drawers open, another employee may injure his or her shins.

When spills are not properly cleaned up, it can lead to a reduced indoor air quality, which in turn can cause more illnesses. Excessively wet floors, which can be caused by rain water, broken pipes or an overly saturated mop, are another housekeeping blunder that can lead to the injury of an office worker. When an office is not properly cleaned and maintained, the employees may be exposed to greater dangers.

Out-of-sight storage techniques

In some offices, supplies are kept on high shelves in order to keep the floors clear. While this has its advantages because it reduces the risk of tripping and falling, it also brings about a new set of hazards. When an employee has to lift a box off of the high shelf, for example, he or she may be at risk for having a box fall on his or her head. If someone has to use a stepping stool or ladder to reach the needed item, there is an increased risk of falling from a height.

While North Carolina office workers may not have the biggest risk of injury out of all of the professions available, there are still some hazards that, if not addressed by the employer, could lead to health issues. Whenever an injury is caused by a work environment, it may be beneficial to work with one of the knowledgeable attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler.