When we talk about workplace accidents, we almost always think of sectors such as construction, industry or transport, but we almost never take into account those that occur in offices.
These accidents tend to be less serious than those that occur in other sectors, but they do not stop being important. In addition, they occur much more frequently than the rest.
Annually, approximately 175,000 accidents occur which result in employees being absent from work for longer than 7 days. Most people who work in an office have suffered, as a minimum, a minor accident at work and, more specifically, but there are many who suffer more serious accidents which may result in seeking, for example, knee injury at work compensation or even causing permanent disability.
According to experienced personal injury solicitors, there are several elements that directly or indirectly influence these accidents, as reported in personal injury cases. Disorder or carelessness is one of the main causes that provoke them as well as the different materials found in the workplace. The main accidents that occur in an office are:
1. Falls at the same level:
One in four accidents in the office occurs for this reason. As we have said before, order in the workplace is very important. This incident is usually characterised by stumbles, collisions or sliding on some liquid spilled on the floor.
2. Falls of height:
Stairs are one of the elements with more risk in the office environment. Around 5,000 accidents occur each year and one in 10 tends to end in disability.
3. Electrical contact:
More than 2,000 accidents are the result of contact with electricity. In an office, you are always surrounded by plugs, cables, and machines. Experts advise never touching electrical appliances with wet hands and never pulling the cable when disconnecting them.
4. Cuts and punctures:
This is another common incident in the office. Cutting implements and sharp materials are common in offices. Therefore, we must take care with their use and storage.
5. Impact with shelves or cabinets:
It is important to ensure the stability of all furniture and/or accessories that are within our reach. For example, it is very common for people to experience an impact/blow/strike with filing cabinets. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that they have a stop that does not allow the accidental total removal of the drawer, thus avoiding an unnecessary accident.
It is not something that happens frequently, but it is important to be prepared for it. Extinguishers, evacuation corridors, and emergency exits must be free of obstacles and, of course, all people should be aware of their placement.
7. Impact with doors:
There are several types of doors, and all of them carry a risk. In many offices, there are glass doors that, most of the time, are hardly visible. There are other types of doors, the swinging ones, which are the most dangerous if you are not careful because they can end up giving a strong blow to the head.
It is not usual in the office but there are times when staff have to lift heavy objects. As it does not fit into the work of an office worker, they do not have any type of protection and this can cause back injuries.
9. Mental fatigue:
The risks in the office are not only physical. Mental fatigue can lead to anxiety or stress. To avoid this, you have to try to prioritise the tasks, do not put limits that cannot be met, and try to create a relaxed atmosphere with colleagues to facilitate the workday.
10. Postural fatigue:
Working sitting all day in a chair in front of the computer can cause fatigue and musculoskeletal problems. Also, if the chair is not properly configured, the neck, arms and back may suffer. To avoid, in addition, visual fatigue, the screen should be located at a distance of not less than 40 centimeters from the eyes, tilting it slightly forward, to avoid reflections.
Most accidents that occur in an office can be avoided if you use common sense and put a little care and order in the workplace. Here are some preventive measures to try to avoid these incidents:
• First of all, it is very important to thoroughly examine the workplace for risks.
• Keep the space neat and clean to avoid falling hazards.
• Determine which elements may generate a certain danger and try to pay special attention to them.
• Ask the technicians or managers to perform any necessary improvements to avoid risks.
• Keep all emergency exits clear of obstacles in case of possible fire or evacuation of any kind.
• Use all office equipment safely and exclusively for what it is intended, following the instructions provided.
• Respect and correctly use all the protection and security measures offered.