People often think of office work as safe, and that is true from a certain perspective. Office workers typically don’t have to handle heavy machinery like those who work in a manufacturing facility. They do their job in one setting most of the time, which means they aren’t usually at risk of a job-related car crash. They also don’t have to rush around like those in a high-demand work environment, such as commercial kitchens or emergency rooms.
Despite the perceived safety of office work environments, however, the employees in such spaces can still potentially get hurt. Thankfully, workers’ compensation benefits apply regardless of the level of danger involved in someone’s job. Orthopedic injuries are among the most common medical issues reported by office workers. How does someone answering phones or compiling reports end up with an orthopedic injury?
1. Heavy lifting responsibilities
Every office has a worker who must restock the paper for the copier and printer, and there are numerous other heavy-lifting duties in any office setting, such as putting a new water jug in the dispenser or moving computer parts.
Especially when one employee has to consistently perform these tasks, the risk is there for the work to develop an orthopedic injury. Workers who repetitively lift heavy amounts are at elevated risk of suffering a sudden traumatic injury due to overexertion. Careful distribution of such responsibilities and appropriate equipment for workers’ safety can reduce the likelihood of a lifting-related orthopedic injury in an office.
2. Repetitive stress injuries
One common reason that workers develop orthopedic injuries has to do with repetitive job tasks, which is a serious issue in modern office settings. Workers spend all day filing paperwork, holding a phone or typing, which inevitably does significant damage to the body parts that they use repetitively.
The injury that they develop will potentially prevent them from continuing to perform their job efficiently or without substantial pain. Repetitive stress injuries often require a dramatic shift in someone’s job responsibilities or a leave of absence so that their injured body parts can recover.
Office workers have the protection of the same workers’ compensation system that safeguards those in industrial settings. Learning about and making use of workers’ compensation benefits can help those who are struggling with medical symptoms related to their employment.