While working inside at a desk is certainly much safer than at a construction site, accidents definitely still occur. Even in an office, people not paying attention to their surroundings can be badly injured while the standard desk worker’s long hours and daily aches can turn into a painful medical condition over time.
Being aware is one way to avoid potentially debilitating accidents. Falls, strains, and static posture frequently cause injury to office workers; however, they are not the only dangers.
Here are four more common office health hazards to watch out for.
Injury from Objects
Since your typical office is often a smaller, more confined space filled with objects and people, injuries from running into things or being hit by items are fairly commonplace. While necessary to your work, equipment like tables, desks, filing cabinets, and office machines are also potential sources of injury.
Always watch where you are going and what is around you when straightening up. Be wary of how objects are stacked overhead, doors being opened unexpectedly, and unstable items near or on your desk that might fall over.
Especially if you are frequently working at a computer, lack an ergonomic office setup, or have bad sitting posture while working, repetitive motion can lead to major health issues over time. Carpal tunnel syndrome is perhaps the most well-known injury, but the day-to-day cumulative strain on your body can also lead to bursitis, tendon problems, chronic back pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Reduce the damage from repetitive motion by having your desk and workstation set up properly. Your computer monitor should be at eye level, and you should be able to type with your shoulders relaxed and your arms at a 90 degree angle to the keyboard.
For adequate support while sitting, invest in a good task chair that allows you to make individualized height, back, armrest, and other adjustments.
Electrical and Fire Hazards
While less common, the risk of electrical or fire related harm is a prevalent issue since most office workers interact daily with many paper materials and electronics. Make sure to report malfunctioning or overheating equipment as soon as they are discovered.
Furthermore, diligence is necessary to prevent the following situations. Mass amounts of improperly stored paper or flammable materials could quickly escalate an emergency situation or block escape routes if a fire breaks out. Likewise, power and extension cords are not only tripping hazards, but if damaged can also lead to fire or electrocution.
Poor Environment Control
Whether it’s a faulty ventilation system, constant noise, or poor lighting, offices often come with many environmental problems. While some of these are minor and unavoidable distractions, others can lead to health issues and should be addressed.
For example, since office workers are inside all the time, lackluster ventilation and poor air quality can lead to illness or exacerbate respiratory issues. Extreme temperatures make work uncomfortable and reduce employee efficiently. Similarly, dim lighting can cause accidents while bright lighting or a constant glare can cause headaches and eye strain.