People seldom mention office workers in administrative positions and workplace injuries in the same breath. However, if you work in an office in San Diego, you will know that you face an endless list of injuries and other health risks each day. Fortunately, the California workers’ compensation system recognizes the many hazards that threaten office workers.
Slip, trip and fall hazards
Spilled coffee or other liquids pose slip hazards, and promptly cleaning them is essential. You may also have to keep a lookout for extension cords snaking across walkways, drawers left open or briefcases and other random objects that pose trip hazards. Falls can have devastating consequences like long-term back problems or even brain trauma if your head strikes a hard object or the floor.
Collisions in the office
Urgencies and the fast pace of a busy office environment could have you colliding with a colleague, an open filing cabinet or other objects. Other hazards include getting your hand or finger caught when you attempt to clear a jammed copier.
Muscle sprains and strains
Your duties likely include the occasional heavy lifting, like when you have to lift and move your desk. Other musculoskeletal risks include bringing boxes of copy paper down from high shelves in the storeroom. The lack of a stepladder might have you standing on a chair to reach the box, posing an even more significant fall or muscle injury risk.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
You are likely aware of the CTS risk if you spend a lot of time working on a computer keyboard and manipulating a mouse. You might even already have noticed some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. It is an extremely painful condition caused by the compression and subsequent swelling of the median nerve that runs from your forearm to your hand.
Excessive use of your fingers, hand and wrist causes the syndrome. Red flags to look out for include finger numbness and tingling, loss of strength when you grip something and continuous pain in the arm, hand and wrist. If you leave it too long before seeking medical care for CTS, you might need to undergo a surgical procedure.
Exposure to stressors in the office could compromise your mental health. Excessive stress could lead to anxiety or depression, affecting your productivity and your quality of life.
The knowledge that the California workers’ compensation system will have your back might provide peace of mind. It is a no-fault program covering medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of whose fault caused your injuries. However, it could be challenging to prove that conditions like stress are work-related. You could avoid such problems by making sure you report the injury or condition as soon as you become aware of the symptoms and ask your medical care provider for documentation to justify your claim.