Every morning millions of people wake up and prepare for their day at the office. They have many worries weighing on their minds: getting the kids ready for school, dealing with traffic, and long lines at the coffee shop, just to name a few. Once they drop off the kids, fight through traffic, and have their favorite caffeinated beverage firmly in hand, the last thing on their mind is potential hazards at the workplace.
Most office workers consider their desks and cubicles to be hazard-free zones. Compared to high-risk industries like construction, the worst thing an office worker thinks could happen to him is that he spills coffee all over his notes for the presentation he is scheduled to deliver in five minutes. Yet, tens of thousands of office workers file workers’ compensation claims every year after they are injured on the job.
One of the most common ways to get injured at the office is by falling. Even though office workers typically spend the majority of their time sitting, the potential for falls is all around. Clutter is a culprit in many office injuries caused by falls. The world is relying less and less on paper, but many businesses still store paper records in boxes around the office. Having stacks of boxes in high-traffic areas could lead to someone tripping. Equipment that is left out and not put away properly could also cause someone to trip and fall. Wires, cords, and cables that are not tucked away neatly could tangle around someone’s feet, resulting in a fall and subsequent injuries.
Slip-and-fall accidents due to wet weather conditions, janitorial work, or spills are to blame for numerous office injuries every year. Failure to use appropriate signage for hazardous conditions could lead to painful injuries, workers’ compensation claims, loss of productivity, and extra expenses.
A filing cabinet may look harmless, but if an employee opens too many drawers at once, the cabinet could come crashing down, injuring the worker. A small cabinet with only one or two drawers could topple over and break a toe; a larger filing cabinet with numerous drawers could do even more harm.
Sometimes it is what you can’t see that can hurt you. In our technological world we are connected by cables and cords to numerous devices we use at work every day. Cords that are damaged could pose a fire risk. Take time to inspect cords and make sure they are in good repair. If you find a cord that is frayed or damaged, take the necessary steps to safely remove and replace it.
Office workers may not be handling power tools or driving heavy machinery as part of their daily duties, but that does not mean they are immune to injuries in the workplace. Taking the time to guard against hazards that could cause falls and fires will ensure everyone makes it safely to five o’clock.