Every seven seconds, a worker in the U.S. is hurt on the job. That’s more than 4.6 million workplace injuries each year. Injuries leave you at risk for prolonged health problems and mean the potential loss of work. While some people can easily transition to working remotely, even working from home doesn’t necessarily protect you from a home-office injury. It’s important to know what the most common workplace injuries are, how to avoid them and what to do if you become a victim of a workplace accident.
Slips and falls
According to the National Safety Council, one-quarter of workplace injuries occur when someone slips, trips or falls. This can happen when someone falls from a higher surface, such as a ladder, trips down stairs or falls on the same level. The best way to avoid this type of accident is to have safety measures in place. If your job requires you to be on elevated surfaces, make sure that you have the proper safety equipment to limit the chance of an injury. If you’re using a ladder, make sure that it’s on an even, solid base, and ask a coworker to assist you. Slips and falls often happen because someone isn’t paying attention. Remember to put your phone down when you’re walking and watch where you’re going.
Things fall in offices—a lot. Shelves collapse, ceiling tiles give out and coffee mugs get knocked over onto laps and laptops. Usually, these mishaps cause nothing more than a thud and a surprise. But if you’re in the way of something when it falls, it can cause a serious injury. Getting hit by a heavy object can cause a concussion, fracture or broken bones. If you’re in an open office, be careful in closets and areas with high shelving and always pay attention to your surroundings. In your personal workspace, reducing clutter on your desk will reduce the likelihood of something falling from it.
Overexertion and back strain
After you’ve worked a while at the same job, you get into a routine. If you’re at a desk all day, that can mean hours on end sitting in a chair, staring at a screen. If you’re more mobile during the workday, your routine might consist of other repetitive motions. If you usually sit at a desk, consider getting up once every hour to take a lap around the office. This will give you a mental break to refresh. It will also give your back a break from being locked in the same position. Or, consider asking your office to invest in standing desks. These adjustable desks make it easy to change your position throughout the day, so you’re not just sitting. If you take a few minutes each day to stretch out it will leave you feeling better and reduce your chance of soreness and aches.
Cuts and lacerations
When your mind is distracted throughout the workday, it’s easy to cut yourself by accident with a mail opener, cutting board or while prepping lunch in the break room. If you do cut yourself, seek help immediately if it’s a serious injury. Lacerations to the skin can cause immediate bleeding and can become infected if not treated properly. To avoid cuts and injuries, keep sharp objects out of the way. Put scissors in drawers and make sure to utilize the safety lock on the cutting board. Make sure to put covers on knives after using them.
Don’t add to the stress at work
Work can already be stressful. There are projects to complete, emails to respond to and deadlines to meet. An injury at work can make it even more stressful and cause a loss of work. If you are injured, visit a doctor to make sure you’re aware of the full extent of the injury. Consider visiting a chiropractor as well. Chiropractors specialize in rehabilitation recovery and can create a rehab plan unique to your injury. Chiropractic care is particularly helpful for many of the types of injuries you may suffer at your workplace. Working with the right chiropractor can ensure that you have a quick and painless recovery.
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