As an office worker, you do not face the dramatic risks of an on-the-job injury that construction workers and cargo loaders face. However, your desk job puts you at risk for certain types of injuries, and you need to know what to do if you are hurt at work or while performing a work-related activity.
The Risks You Face Working in an Office
A typical office job involves a great deal of sitting and computer use. This can put you at risk for suffering certain types of injuries that can become debilitating. The office environment presents other hazards that can lead to injury. The following office tasks and conditions could lead to an injury or illness:
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Staring at a computer screen
- Using a keyboard and mouse repetitively
- Pressure to perform and produce
- Trip and falls
- Heavy lifting
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Poor ventilation and air quality
- Poor lighting
Typical Office Injuries
As an office employee, you could suffer a work-related injury or health problem caused by the work you do or the environment in your office. These injuries and illnesses can include:
- Back, neck, hand, and wrist injuries. You may suffer a back injury if you routinely work in a chair that doesn’t provide the right support. You may suffer a neck, hand, or wrist injury if you are typing or working at an uncomfortable angle. And heavy lifting or trip and fall accidents can cause a serious musculoskeletal injury.
- Respiratory illnesses. If there is poor air quality or ventilation in your office, you may develop a serious respiratory illness.
- Vision problems. Poor lighting or spending too much time working at a computer screen can cause eye strain and vision problems for some workers.
- Stress and other mental health problems. If your job is stressful and demanding, you may suffer from a mental health-related illness.
If you suffer these injuries—or any other injury—because of your work-related activities, know what to do next.
What to Do After an Office Injury
If your office injury was caused by a trip and fall or other sudden accident, seek medical treatment right away. If your injury came on more gradually, emergency medical treatment may not be necessary, but still see a doctor soon. In any case, be sure to let the treating physician know that your injury or illness is work related so it is documented in your medical record.
Besides getting prompt medical attention for an office injury or illness, report it to your employer. Large employers, such as the City of Columbus and Ohio State University, have formal processes in place for reporting these injuries. If your company has no formal process, notify your supervisor about your injury in writing—right away. Keep a copy of your written report. Notifying your employer creates a clear timeline of your injury and helps to strengthen your claim. Keeping a copy for yourself avoids problems resulting from "misplaced" paperwork.
Finally, you must notify the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) of your work-related injury or illness. You can do so by ensuring that your doctor or employer files a claim on your behalf or by submitting a “First Report of Injury” or FROI-1 on your own. The form is available online. Once your claim has been submitted and reviewed, you will receive a BWC claim number which you must provide at all follow-up medical appointments.
Your Next Step Should Be to Seek Legal Advice
If you are struggling to figure out the workers’ comp process while coping with your injury, call Monast Law Office to get the help you need today. We will explain your rights, gather medical evidence, file all required paperwork, represent you in a hearing, and file appeals if necessary. To learn more, please download a free copy of, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, and contact us directly via this website or by phone to schedule an initial meeting with our legal team.