Common office equipment is responsible for around 75,000 work-related injuries each year.
Workplace injuries are often caused by heavy machinery and tools used in factories and industrial settings. According to OSHA, even seemingly harmless office equipment can cause injuries. OSHA estimates that office equipment is responsible for around 75,000 work-related injuries each year. The 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 indoor office environment. Indoor air pollution caused by cleaning agents can cause serious long-term respiratory illnesses. Poor ventilation and building layout increases 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.
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.