As far as dangerous occupations go, work in an office is about as safe as you can get. There is no manual labor, no obvious hazards that could cause acute injury, and plenty of comfort (climate control, cushy chairs, and snacks). In light of this, it hardly seems worthwhile to talk about workplace safety to those who consider themselves to be “desk jockeys.”
But although the risks may not be obvious, office work does come with some hazards that need to be understood and mitigated. Many of these hazards take a health toll over time, so training yourself to make some small changes now could greatly protect your health in the long run.
Sitting Can Cause Health Problems in Numerous Ways
It is often said that “sitting is the new smoking.” It’s unclear whether sitting is truly as bad for your health as smoking, but it is clear that being overly sedentary is detrimental to your health. Things get even more complicated when you factor in the poor posture that many of us have. You may be able to protect yourself and improve your mental productivity by:
- Taking regular breaks to stand up and move around (such as walks during lunch)
- Trying to stay relaxed while sitting and letting go of any unnecessary tension in your muscles
- Sitting with hips and shoulders aligned to relieve stress on your back
- Sitting up tall without slumping your shoulders
- Drink plenty of water to flush lactic acid and toxins out of your muscles
Repetition and Strain injuries
Desk work almost always entails using a computer. That means hours a day of typing and staring at a screen. Over time, this could lead to repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and excessive strain on your eyes. To keep yourself healthy, remember to:
- Take breaks from staring at the screen. Eat lunch away from your desk and be device-free during that time.
- Get your employer to invest in screen covers that filter out much of the most harmful wavelengths of light
- Use a relaxed technique when typing and maintain awareness of excessive tension in your wrists or fingers.
Get To Know Your Office Layout And Protocols
Most office workers know exactly how to get to their desk, the bathroom and the cafeteria. But do you know where emergency exits are? How about fire extinguishers and other safety equipment? Do you know where to go in case of a natural disaster? And is there a protocol for how to respond to an in-office threat such as an active shooter?
These are all questions you should know the answers to. If your employer or supervisor has not provided this information already, please don’t be afraid to ask.
Injured at Work? Speak To a Lawyer About Your Options.
Of course, accidents and acute injuries can occur even in a safe office environment. If you were injured in an accident at work or have developed injuries over time, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation. To discuss your case or get help with a claim or appeal, please contact a law office to speak to experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Nassau County today.
Thanks to Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and staying safe at the office.