People who work in offices often take for granted that their employment presents minimal risk of personal injury. Especially when compared with some of the higher-paid professions in Alaska, office work may seem relatively safe. Those who work in the timber industry, as professional fishermen or in construction are at constant risk of a severe, possibly fatal, injury.
Office workers don’t have to do their jobs in dangerous environments or handle powerful machinery. It may seem like working at an office effectively eliminates the risk of getting hurt on the job, but that is not the case.
Office workers in Alaska can suffer significant injuries or develop work-related medical issues that require expensive treatment or limit their opportunities in life. What are the most common injuries reported by office employees?
Repetitive stress injuries
Office workers may spend most of their day typing or holding a phone. Performing those same manual tasks over and over again can put a lot of strain on the hands, wrists and forearms. Office workers are quite prone to the development of repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
These conditions may force a worker to change what job functions they perform and may necessitate surgery or time off of work.
Back and shoulder issues
Sitting all day can cause chronic pain and a loss of flexibility. Office workers may develop tension in their lower backs and hips. They may also develop pain in their shoulders and necks from hunching forward to type. Companies can reduce these risks by providing high-quality chairs with lumbar support, but a sedentary job will always come with some risk to the back, neck and shoulders.
Eye strain and headaches
Being under fluorescent lights all day can damage someone’s eyes or cause headaches. Unless there are glare reducers installed on monitors or workers use special eyeglasses, they may have complaints involving eye strain and chronic headaches related to the lighting or the computer that they use in the office.
Any of these medical issues may require time off of work, visits with medical professionals and possibly a move to a different, lower paying position. Workers’ compensation benefits are available for those who work in any profession, not just high risk industries that often see catastrophic injuries.