No matter where you work, there are risks. Though we assume the workplace is a safe place, a place where our greatest concerns are about deadlines and unhappy bosses and clients, there are in fact at any moment, hidden amongst the benign objects of the office, potential hazards and accidents waiting to happen.
In order to help you better protect yourself and your fellow employees, here are the four most common office injury risks to keep an eye on.
- Falling objects
You may think you don’t have to worry about this in an office, but there are still potential hazards all around. Are there potted plants hanging in your office? That’s a risk. What about cubicle walls where people sometimes put staplers or other heavy office supplies? That’s right, that’s a risk too.
- Walking into things
Don’t just be aware what is above you, be aware of what is in front of you. In a busy office environment, people can run into walls, doors, tables, or each other. It may sound amusing at first, but the potential for serious injury is still there and ought to be taken into account.
- Muscle strains
Another potential injury inducing problem that office workers assume is unlikely to happen to them. The office may not be a warehouse full of heavy boxes and equipment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hurt yourself lifting a heavy box of new printer paper or help lift a new printer for that matter. There are still plenty of heavy things that we might injure ourselves on in an office. In fact, because we assume this isn’t a potential problem, we often don’t bother to take the proper precautions when doing those occasional acts of lifting. If someone wants to move tables around or asks you to lift heavy boxes, do so only when following safe lifting and pushing techniques.
- Slipping, tripping, and falling down
Perhaps the most obvious and at the same time least thought of risk in any working environment, or indeed, in any environment at all. Over 30,000 people die every year in America from simply falling down. In order to avoid such problems, be sure to watch where you are stepping. Be careful when using a ladder. Never step up on chairs or other objects not designed to bear your weight. And, very importantly, watch out for spills on the ground or any objects that might be impeding you as you walk. Keep an eye out for wires or feet dangling out in the aisle.
If you’ve already experienced a workplace injury, be sure to look at this lawyer’s site, which has a handy FAQ that covers a lot of basic questions about how you should proceed after the fact. Do yourself a favor and look through it.
If, as could be hoped, you have not been hurt, please use this list to minimize the risk to yourself and your colleagues and employees in the future. Many workplace accidents can be avoided with simple common sense and a little bit of awareness. Knowing what might be putting you at risk is a major step towards staying safe.