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How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Office Injuries

While a day at the office may look safe, hidden risks and injuries often lurk beneath – notably when proper equipment or setup is lacking.

Shockingly enough, research from the CDC found that those in an office environment are 2-2.5 times more likely to suffer injury due to a fall than those who don’t work in offices!

Not only this – long periods of sitting can be damaging for one’s overall health; furthermore, poor posture paired with inadequate  chair and desk setup can result in Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI).

To keep your workforce healthy and happy (and away from Repetitive Strain Injuries!), make sure you’re aware of these top 5 most common workplace hazards:

1. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

RSI is like the film “Groundhog Day”, but with less romance; it’s the same movement on repeat, day in and day out.

It is an umbrella term that covers a range of injuries caused by overuse, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and tenosynovitis.

A recent study by Cornell University found that those who use computer keyboards for more than four hours a day have twice the risk of RSI.

How to Avoid?

Set up your workstation ergonomically – adjust the height of your chair, keyboard and monitor to ensure your wrists are straight when typing, and your eyes are level with the top of the screen.

2. Computer Vision Syndrome

The average person stares at a screen for 8-10 hours a day, which can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). That’s 70 hours a week, 3640 hours a year and a whopping three years of your life!

CVS is characterized by symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck pain.

Here’s the thing: Blue light isn’t necessarily bad for your eyes – but too much of it can be, especially at night. Blue light during the day is actually beneficial, as it helps to regulate your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

How to Avoid?

Take regular breaks from your computer screen – at least 10 minutes every hour. If you’re having trouble remembering, set yourself a timer! Additionally, you can install blue light filter apps to your screen to minimize its effect.

3. Slips, Trips and Falls

The most common causes of office falls include:

  • Slipping on wet floors
  • Reaching for something while sitting in an unstable chair
  • Tripping over loose carpeting, electrical cords, an open file drawer, or objects in walkways
  • Using a chair instead of a ladder
  • Poor lighting/visibility

Sure, you can handle a fall when you’re 16 – but not so much when you’re 40!

How to Avoid?

Be mindful of your footing – look for spills, clutter, and other obstacles when you’re walking around your office. Keep walkways clear, use a ladder instead of chairs or stools, and make sure your office is properly lit.

4. Back Injuries

Back injuries are usually caused by improper lifting techniques or bad posture.

As shown in an NCBI-published study, inactivity can lead to back pain. The problem worsens when you’re inactive in a poor working position.

How to Avoid?

Investing in ergonomic furniture and equipment such as adjustable chairs, standing desks, and lumbar support can reduce the risk of back pain. If you’re office doesn’t have this, talk to management about getting it.

5. Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)

MSDs are any kind of disorder or injury that affects the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. It is caused by repetitive motion or exertion of force.

Common MSDs include sprains, strains, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger.

How to Avoid?

Frequent breaks between tasks can help alleviate the effects of repetitive motion, and stretching before and after a task can also help protect your muscles. Additionally, using the proper body mechanics when lifting heavy items is important – use your legs and core, not your back!

That’s it – if you follow the tips above, you can reduce the risk of injury and make sure that your workdays are pain-free. Stay safe!



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