Despite common beliefs that the office provides a safe environment in which to work, many hazards exist which cause thousands of injuries and health problems each year among office workers. Since one-third of the work force is in offices, even low rates of work-related injuries and illnesses can have an immense impact on employee safety and health. Today’s modern offices are substantially different from the office environment of 20 years ago. Sweeping changes have occurred in the American workplace as a result of new office technology and automation of office equipment. Consequently, office workers are faced with many more hazards.
Compared with industrial and construction worksites, the average office tends to be pretty tame. But even in an office, a variety of potential hazards exist, any one of which can lead to accidents and injuries. For example:
- An office worker carrying a stack of files falls down the stairs and severely injures her back.
- Another office worker gets a painful bang on his shin when he bumps into on a lower desk drawer that’s been left open.
- An office worker, opening a box of supplies with a box cutter, cuts her hand and has to be taken to the emergency room for stitches.
- A disgruntled former employee returns to the office and shoots his supervisor and three co-workers.
- The person designated to shut off the coffee maker forgets, and later that night a fire breaks out, spreading rapidly through the office.
- An office worker entering the building on a wet day slips and falls on the wet tiles in the entryway.
- The mailroom receives a suspicious package, which turns out to contain an explosive device.
These are just a few possible scenarios that demonstrate the risks office workers may face on the job