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Office injuries: Even a gentle workplace has hazards

Not many people think of an office as a dangerous workplace. In fact, offices are usually one of the safer places to work. You aren't exposed to the elements, you have your work day set to certain hours and you're not risking your health around dangerous machinery or vehicles.

Office injuries do occur, though, and when they do, it's hard for workers to do their jobs.

Falls are the most common cause of injury

One of the most common causes of injuries is falling. Office workers are up to 2.5 times more likely to suffer a disability as a result of a fall than people who don't work in offices. These falls usually occur because of tripping over desks or file drawers, slipping on wet floors, using chairs instead of ladders, or reaching for something from an unstable chair.

Other injuries can occur as well. Office workers could end up being electrocuted from dangerous outlets or bad wiring. They could be exposed to fires in the office. They could end up with injuries due to non-ergonomic office chairs or furniture.

What can you do to prevent injuries in the workplace?

The main thing is to speak up when you realize there's a hazard. Have you noticed your back aching after several hours of work? Talk to your boss about ergonomics and see if there's an alternative chair or desk you can use. Do you notice a coworker who constantly leaves a file cabinet open? Ask him or her to close it to prevent tripping accidents.

You should also remember not to reach for items while seated. You could tip your seat over. Instead, get up and collect the item, since it's safer.

If you notice spills, clean them up. Help your employer by pointing out where electrical cords or loose carpets are in the way and posing a threat. Finally, remember that a chair is not equivalent to a ladder. Many chairs swivel. One swivel you're not expecting could end up causing you to fall and get hurt. Avoid this by using an office ladder. Small step ladders fit into closets and small spaces, so they're easy to store as well.

Workplace accidents can happen anywhere, even in a relatively safe office. Take the time to report hazards and be sure you're as safe as you can be. By reporting hazards and following safety tips, you can prevent accidents in the workplace and stay safe and healthy.

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