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Harmless Office Equipment Can Cause St. Louis Workplace Injury

In 2019, there were an estimated 461,600 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in the “information” industry, which includes office workers

back pain from office chair

Workplace injuries are often caused by heavy machinery and tools used in factories and industrial settings. Even seemingly harmless office equipment can cause injuries.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019 there were an estimated 461,600 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in the “information” industry, which includes office workers. These injuries range from sprains and strains to broken bones and burns. Injuries can occur from malfunctions or falling. Workers often do not consider office equipment as risky.

Types of Office Equipment

There are several types of common office equipment that can lead to work-related injuries.

  • Filing cabinets – Filing cabinet drawers can be quite heavy especially when they are fully loaded. A multi-door cabinet can be even heavier, and if it topples, it can cause serious injuries including lacerations and crushed limbs.
  • Chairs – Sitting for long periods can cause nerve and musculoskeletal injuries. Poorly designed chairs contribute to back problems for office workers.
  • Flooring – Most office floors are covered with matted carpet, wood, or tiles. They provide little traction and slipping on these can cause serious back, neck, and head injuries. According to available statistics, the rate of disabling fall injuries is 2-2.5 times greater among office workers compared to non-office workers.
  • Copiers – The toner used in copiers is toxic and direct contact can cause eye injury, respiratory problems, and chemical burns.
  • Chemicals – Many toxic chemicals are used in an indoor office environment. Indoor air pollution caused by cleaning agents can cause serious long-term respiratory illnesses. Poor ventilation and building layout increase the risk of illnesses.
  • Electrical cords – Faulty cords may short and cause fire or electrocution. Unsecured cords can cause trips and falls as well.
  • Scissors and paper shredders – Even a few seconds of distraction when using a pair of scissors or a paper shredder can cause injury.
  • Unsecured inventory – If heavy boxes are not secured properly on high shelves, they can fall and cause injuries.

Injuries Caused by Office Equipment

  • Overexertion – the most common injury reported by office workers. Office workers often lift heavy boxes, push inventory, and move office furniture. This can pull joints out of alignment, tear ligaments, and strain muscles.
  • Repetitive motion – Many office workers spend a large part of their day typing at a keyboard. This can cause injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, eye strain, and other repetitive stress injuries.

Common Problems Associated with Poor Telephone Talking Posture

One of the most common problems associated with poor telephone talking posture is neck pain. When we slouch or hunch forward while on the phone, we put unnecessary strain on the muscles and ligaments in our necks. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and even headaches.

Another problem that can arise from poor telephone talking posture is shoulder pain. When we hold the phone up to our ears for long periods, we put a strain on the muscles and tendons in our shoulders. This can lead to inflammation, soreness, and even rotator cuff injuries.

Finally, poor telephone talking posture can also cause back pain. When we sit hunched over or slouched while on the phone, we put a strain on the muscles and ligaments on our backs. This can lead to lower back pain, upper back pain, and even herniated discs.

How to Improve Your Telephone Talking Posture

There are a few simple things you can do to improve your posture while talking on the phone: 

First, consider using a headset instead of cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder. This will take the strain off your neck and shoulders and help keep your spine aligned. 

Second, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Avoid slouching or hunching forward; instead, keep your shoulders back and down, with your chin parallel to the floor. 

Third, take breaks every 20 minutes or so to move around and stretch. Get up out of your chair and walk around for a few minutes, or do some simple neck and shoulder stretches at your desk. This will help relieve any tension that has built up in your muscles during prolonged periods of sitting or standing.

Workers’ Compensation for Office Injuries

If you are an office worker who has suffered a work-related injury that requires medical treatment and time off from work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact a St. Louis workplace injury lawyer to know more about your legal rights. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.

Workplace Injury and Accident Causes

Updated: July 17, 2023