We often associate workplace injuries with accidents in a manufacturing environment or on job sites where large equipment is used to move heavy materials. But in reality, many accidents occur in the office. As many people return to the office after two years of working remotely, office-related injuries are increasing. Office injuries vary from simple slips, trips, and falls in the break area or entrance after rain to more severe ones with falling furniture and boxes falling off high shelves. The office staff doesn’t spend much time performing daily safety meetings, so safety tends to fall by the wayside. As a result, people take more significant risks by stepping on the top of a ladder to reach a filling box on a high shelf. Worse yet, people tend to overlook spills in the breakroom, leaving it for an unsuspecting co-worker to step on when they are trying to get their morning coffee. Some of the more mundane accidents include twisting and turning, as well as paper cuts. It has also been known that people accidentally staple their fingers. Let’s not forget that work stress can lead to distracted staff and leaving drawers and cabinet doors open. Many staff have fallen victim to hitting their shins on open desk drawers. All of this is to say that office personnel must be just as diligent as people working in factories and building sites.
As staff begin returning to your office, take time to conduct brief morning safety meetings. Discuss slips, trips, and falls, along with other basic activities that we do as an ordinary course of our daily work routines. The more staff perform a task, the more likely they are to fall into a false sense of security. Remind everyone that more people are in the workspace, which means more movement and increased exposure to germs and viruses. Everyone must remain diligent and mindful of what is happening around them. Mindfulness results in safer behavior and a natural inclination not to take one’s safety for granted. It also encourages everyone to watch out for the safety of their co-workers.
According to Liberty Mutual, workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $1 billion a week. Additionally, the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index for 2021 identified five causes that comprise 68.9% of the total cost. These include overexertion involving outside sources (lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, and throwing objects), falls on the same level, falls on the lower level, being struck by an object or equipment, and other exertions and bodily reactions (bending, reaching, twisting, climbing, crawling, kneeling, sitting, standing, walking, and running).