Is Your Office Actually A Death Trap?

June 1st kicks off the beginning of National Safety Awareness month. Now I wasn’t even aware there was National Safety Month. I didn’t even know there was a committee. And where does this committee meet and how often? I imagine it is in a padded room somewhere.

However, the reason for why we have National Safety Awareness month became quite clear to me a few days ago when I became one with the floor in my office. I tripped on a lamp wire next to my desk which I will admit I decided myself to plug in in a rather dumb spot that I figured would eventually trip me. I just forgot to put find another place to plug lamp in on my Google Tasks list. And if it is not on my Google Tasks list, it ain’t getting done.  But I digress. So I got up in a hurry from my chair and tripped over the wire. It was one of those slow falls where you know you are falling which makes it even worse. As I fell I saw that my desk lamp was close to falling to and in an attempt to save it I angled my body in such a way that when I did hit the ground I fell directly on my left leg with a tremendous thud. The lamp made it but I can’t say the same for my upper thigh and ass. I even found it hard to concentrate the rest of the day because it hurt to sit. Someone suggested I get one of those inner tubes to sit in which is what they give to people with broken butts. It was a low point.

Then when I didn’t think it could get lower I got an email from my company saying we were participating in NSA month and if we reported no office injuries then we could win an American Express gift card. Now I couldn’t even win a contest (I didn’t even know I was entered in but still)? Things were bad. However, my fall inspired me to look into other ways we can get hurt in the office. Mostly I wanted to see that other people had done stupid things too to feel better about myself but I also wanted to see some statistics.

I found out I wasn’t alone or very unique. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, office workers are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to suffer a disabling injury from a fall than non-office workers. The most common causes of office falls include:

  • Tripping over an open desk or file drawer, electrical cords or wires, loose carpeting, or objects in hallways/walkways
  • Bending or reaching for something while seated in an unstable chair
  • Using a chair in place of a ladder
  • Slipping on wet floors
  • Inadequate lighting

According to the CDC workers should also be on the look out for flying objects but also be aware of stationary objects as possible sources of danger. Now of course if you are working in a big warehouse or something with trucks then I would say absolutely but I am now supposed to be afraid of a sharply-cornered desk?

However what the CDC is really saying is to be on alert. Remember when they taught you how you had to be safe when you had recess at school. Well this is like that it just seems really lame because you are in an office. And I will say that I think everyday some kid either skinned her knee or fell of the monkey bars but that is part of life. Anyway, here are some CDC tips for being safe in your office so you don’t have some sort of life-scarring pencil sharpener incident.

You can avoid these types of injuries, first and foremost, by staying alert, watching where you are walking and putting your fingers, keeping jewelry and hair away from machinery and concentrating on what you’re doing. Meanwhile, open doors slowly in case someone is walking by.

You can also ask your office manager to purchase proper storage devices so all materials can be safely stored out of the way, and to ensure that office machines have the proper safety guards attached.

The CDC also says to look away from your computer screen for 30 seconds every 10 minutes, and get up to stretch every half hour. This will help to take some of the strain away and reduce your risk of being injured from making repetitive movements (such as typing) without a rest.

So stay alert so you don’t end up with a bruise on your back thigh the size of a watermelon like me.




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    • Brent Emery Pieczynski

      I am glad the dangers of an office are being listed so these can be corrected.