When you think of things that cause injuries, you likely picture sports or lifting heavy objects. However, the office is one of the main culprits when it comes to injuries. If you're a thoughtful and conscientious employer, you'll take steps toward preventing injuries in the workplace, and the first one is to make sure you're informed of what they are and what causes them. Here are three common office injuries and what you can do to stop them.
From general stiffness to ruptured discs, back pain is one of the most common health complaints. You might think that office environments don't put employees at risk for back pain, but the truth is that uncomfortable chairs can cause back injuries and chronic pain even in sedentary workplaces. One of the best ways to prevent office back pain is using ergonomic chairs. These are padded and contoured to keep the spine in a more neutral position, which reduces pain and injury. If your employees spend most of their time standing, high-quality cushioned mats can reduce back and leg strain. These mats are commonly seen in kitchens and coffeehouses. If your employees have back pain, there are ways you can help them be more comfortable. By allowing frequent breaks to stretch and walk, you can help them alleviate discomfort. In some cases, having a heating pad or similar device can make them feel more comfortable and help them focus on work.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries like tendinitis are very common in offices, especially those involving large amounts of typing. These injuries also are common in factories and other environments where employees make the same motion over and over. According to Lorusso Law, working in an office increases the risk for repetitive stress injuries. Sitting at a computer and using a keyboard all day can cause a potentially damaging force on your muscles and tendons, increasing your risk for carpal tunnel or tendinitis. In the case of typists, injuries like this can be prevented by using ergonomic keyboard designs. For other repetitive tasks, rotate employees when possible to give them a break from one specific motion. For injured employees, offer alternative duty and make sure you allow them to wear supportive braces if needed.
Tripping and Falling
We've all tripped over something at some point, but in an office environment, trips and falls can sometimes result in serious harm. In fact, these are some of the most common office injuries. It's true that not all such occurrences are severe, but in an office environment, tripping has the potential to send an employee headfirst into a desk corner. One of the easiest ways to avoid this hazard is to get rid of office clutter, especially on the ground. Make sure employees don't leave personal belongings reaching into walkways, and ensure that no objects that someone could trip over are left lying around. If needed, invest in storage shelves to keep things off the floor.
Avoiding office injuries is in the best interests of you and your employees. The good news is that, with some planning and forethought, you can dramatically reduce your employees' risk.
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