Injured in the Office: Common Workplace Injuries and Prevention Methods
Who knew that sitting behind a desk all day could do real harm to your health? The truth is that even office workers are at risk of work related injuries. They’re essentially at risk for everything from back pain and eye strain to more severe complications like heart disease and diabetes can be derived from sitting all day long. While one might assume that sitting at a desk and typing all day would be a breeze, there are still health and safety concerns that must be addressed. Below are some of the most common work related injuries and how you can prevent them from occurring.
Typing all day long can actually have negative effects on the body. Motions that are repeated over and over again can actually cause injury and/or pain. Carpal tunnel is a common work related injury that can bring on feelings of tingling, numbness, and itching that can be felt from the hands all the way up the forearm. It can make it increasingly challenging to perform work related duties.
Prevention: Carpal tunnel that is not properly treated could result in the need for medications or surgery. Therefore, you want to try to prevent this from happening by doing routine stretches and taking frequent breaks. You should also make sure that you’re holding your wrists correctly when typing to prevent strain or stress to your hands, wrists, or forearms.
Have you ever gone home after a long day in the office and felt like your back was on fire? Back pain can also be closely connected with sitting too much – especially if you have poor posture. When you’re sitting at the desk slouched over for hours at a time it can cause a lot of stress on the spine resulting in pain in the lower back area.
Prevention: The first step to preventing back pain is to be aware of your posture. If you find yourself slouching throughout the day, you’ll want to make sure you correct this. Sit up nice and straight with your feet aligned a shoulder width apart on the ground. You can also prevent back pain by getting up and walking around from time to time. If back pain still persists, you might consider talking with the human resources department about investing in ergonomic furniture, such as standing desks. These allow you to alternate your ability to sit and stand while still getting the job done.
Your body is meant to move around. Staying in one position for an eight hour period can cause the joints and muscles to tighten up. For instance, sitting at the desk for several hours can tight the hip muscles that help move the legs towards the body. Tight hip muscles can also be the culprit for excessive back pain as well.
Prevention: Again, the key here is to get up and walk around your desk. There are also stretches that you can complete in your working area that will allow you to stretch the joints and muscles to prevent tightness.
Does your job require you to do a lot of computer work? Staring at the computer screen for long periods of time can do damage to your eyes. It can cause blurred vision and eye sensitivity. If you’ve noticed that your vision is blurred, get too watery or are too dry, this could all be a sign of eyestrain.
Prevention: To prevent eyestrain, there are a few things you can do. First you want to make sure that the font size on your computer is clearly legible. Also, it is a good idea to rest your eyes by giving them a break from the computer screen. Take that rest time to do other things like filing, making copies, or making phone calls.
Bacteria Related Illnesses
You know the quickest way to catch a bug? Sharing an office with others. With so much community property being used throughout the course of a day, it can be fairly easy to pass along germs and bacteria to your coworkers. All it takes is one person to sneeze on the copy machine without wiping it down and the entire staff could begin to feel less than themselves.
Prevention: It is a good idea to practice good cleaning habits. Inquire about had sanitizer and antibacterial wipes that you can have conveniently located around the office for general use. Also, make sure that you give community property a good wipe down at the end of each day to keep the germs from piling up.
Work Related Stress
While some might think of stress in the office as a common occurrence, too much stress can actually kill you. Taking on too much responsibility, working in a hostile work environment, or even just the nature of your job can cause you to stress out daily. Stress however can lead to serious health issues and also leave you susceptible to illness as your immune system can become compromised.
Prevention: While some stress is to be expected, if you are under a great deal of stress you need to do what you can to minimize it. Delegate heavy workloads, talk with your supervisor about any work related issues, and more importantly take a few deep breaths. If the problem persists, talking to a counselor is beneficial to prevent chronic stress.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t just stop at home, it should be a priority all day long. As you can see, even office workers are prone to illness and injuries just from something as simple as sitting all day long. Look over the prevention methods and do what you can to improve your health in the office. If the problems persist, talking with a manager or human resource representative about investing in ergonomic furniture is ideal.