How dangerous could a desk job be? You are sitting most of the day, right? Wrong. Any actual office worker could tell you they have plenty of aches and pains caused by "just sitting." Office workers often file successfully for workers' compensation benefits for debilitating injuries they sustained on the job. We consider some of these injuries and explain why it's important to report and get treatment for symptoms that start out as minor but can become much worse.
4 Common Injuries Experienced by Office Workers
We are using the term office worker as a general term to refer to anyone who sits at a desk for most of the day. This could be anyone from a receptionist or administrative assistant to a computer programmer or CEO. Despite the work you are doing as you sit at a desk and move around an office space, you are at risk of suffering common injuries such as:
- Falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury across all industries, and offices are no exception. Office workers can trip over open desk or file drawers, electrical cords or wires, and loose carpeting. They can slip on wet bathroom or entryway floors and fall down staircases with broken handrails or inadequate lighting. The cause of the fall is not important, however. If your fall has caused a serious injury that prevents you from working, it's worth looking into whether a workers' comp claim is appropriate.
- Lifting injuries. You may not work in a warehouse, but you still lift plenty of heavy objects in your day. Lifting boxes of paper for the copy machine, stacks of files, computer equipment, water cooler refills, and office supply deliveries can wrench a back as easily as lifting industrial equipment. If these tasks are done repetitively, you are at an even greater risk.
- Back and neck injuries. Workstation ergonomics are essential to protecting your neck, shoulders, and back, but not every office worker is offered high-end chairs, standing workstations, adjustable desks, and flexible computer set-ups. Over time, the strain of an unsupportive chair, misplaced computer monitor, or ill-fitting desk can cause severe and debilitating musculoskeletal injuries.
- Repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Workers who spend hours at a computer terminal are using their shoulders, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands repetitively, which can strain muscles and tendons to the point of chronic pain and immobility. This is true even though computer users are making small movements. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the RSI most people have heard of, but other parts of the arms can also be affected.
Except for falls, these injuries develop into chronic and painful conditions over time, so it's difficult to make the connection between the injury and the job. However, when you seek medical treatment in the early stages of the condition, you establish an onset date and create a paper trail of evidence of the worsening condition.
At-Home Office Workers May Be Eligible Too
These days, many office workers can do their jobs remotely from home offices. Despite Ohio's recent legislation establishing rules about workers' comp for remote workers, it is still possible to file a successful claim for an injury sustained in a home office. As long as the injury happened while completing a task for the exclusive benefit of the employer, it should be compensable. For example, a debilitating RSI caused by hours using a mouse and computer to complete exclusively work-related tasks should be covered, even if it happened at home.
Get Help From Monast Law Office
With over 30 years of experience as a workers' comp attorney in Ohio, I have helped workers in many industries get the compensation they have earned. If you are an office worker who was injured doing your job, contact Monast Law Office to discover how we can help. Learn more by requesting a free copy of our book, The Worker's Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, then fill out our online contact form or call our Upper Arlington office at 614-334-4649 to get started.