Using Self-Assessments to Prevent Office Worker Injuries

How you can prevent injuries in your office.

When you think about workers compensation insurance claims, you probably think about high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, and so on.  However, it’s important to understand that all businesses face the risk of employee injuries.  For instance, office workers often report musculoskeletal pain and injuries—such as lower back pain, neck pain, and wrist injuries.  Oftentimes, these types of injuries are the result of poorly adjusted work stations.  But how can employers identify this risk and take steps to address it?  Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Common Ergonomic Problems

Because office workers must sit in the same position for long periods of time, it’s important that their heads, necks, and upper limbs are arranged in a way that is comfortable and sustainable.  When their workstations are arranged awkwardly, your staff can suffer repetitive stress injuries.  Common ergonomic issues include the following:

  • Employees resting their arms on their desks instead of using their armrests. This can lead to an elevation of the shoulders and increased strain on the neck, shoulders, and trapezius muscle.  Additionally, this position forces the employee to sit forward in their chairs, which causes them to lose the lumbar support offered by their chairs.   Over time, this can cause issues with the lower back.
  • Monitors are placed too low, causing the employee to hunch over. This places pressure on the spine, neck, and shoulders.
  • The mouse is not aligned with the employee’s shoulder, which forces the shoulder in abduction. Abduction has been associated with musculoskeletal issues with the neck and upper limbs.  Continued use of the mouse in this position will lead to neck and wrist problems.
  • Workers without headsets often hold their desktop phones between their heads and shoulders, putting a strain on their spine and shoulder.

Ergonomic Self-Assessments

Because every employee is different, employers cannot make sweeping judgments regarding effective desk layouts.  This is why you should issue self-assessments to your staff so each employee can evaluate his or her own comfort level.  There are several self-assessment tools that employers can administer to their staff.  When selecting an assessment for your company, look for one that includes questions about each employee’s chair, monitor, mouse, and phone.  Your tool should evaluate the employee’s responses and guide them through the adjustments that they should make to make their workstation more ergonomic.

This is how you can prevent injuries among your office staff.  Do you have additional questions about your workers compensation insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at PMC Insurance Group.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your business insurance needs today.

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