If someone were to ask you whether your job is dangerous or not, if you primarily work in an office, you are probably going to say no. After all, you don’t have any dangerous chemical exposure like factory workers might. You don’t have to drive all day as part of your job like other professionals do. You don’t have to work at a significant altitude or endure harsh weather conditions outside.
Your job may seem safe and like something you can continue doing indefinitely. However, quite a few office workers get hurt on the job every year across the United States. Thousands of office workers annually must apply for workers’ compensation benefits after getting hurt on the job.
What are the biggest risks for you in an office?
Falls are a leading cause of traumatic injury
Even if your office space is all on one floor, there is some fall risk for you on the job. You could slip in a small puddle of spilled coffee or in accumulated moisture from a leak in the ceiling. It’s also possible that someone could call your name, prompting you to turn suddenly and lose your balance.
A fall could mean a broken bone, a head injury or a soft tissue injury to your hands that might keep you out of work for a few weeks.
Sitting at your desk is a major source of danger
The idea that sitting at a desk is dangerous is highly counterintuitive. You get to stay in one place, which means you’re not at risk for a fall or a car crash. However, the human body isn’t meant to just sit in one position for extended amounts of time.
Even with the best chairs possible and good posture, you can start to suffer pain in your lower back, tightness in your hips, and stiffness in your neck and shoulders. Additionally, if you spend most of your day typing at a computer, the risk for carpal tunnel and severe eye strain is not something you can ignore.
There are plenty of other, less common risks on the job in an office as well. Anywhere you have electrical devices, there’s the risk for an electrical injury if a wire winds up frayed or something shorts out. Interpersonal violence can also affect workplace safety.
If you get hurt as an office worker, including if you develop a repetitive motion injury rather than suffer a traumatic incident, you have the right to ask for workers’ compensation benefits to help you heal and to limit the financial impact of the injury on your life.