When you think about workplace accidents, you may think of accidents at construction sites or similar industries. While those industries do have a higher rate of injury, accidents and injuries happen in all work environments, even ones thought of as “safe,” like offices. To help you keep a safer office setting, we’re sharing how to prevent accidents and provide first aid in case of injury around the office.
Preventing Falls in Office Workplaces
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of someone getting hurt in an office setting. What may seem surprising is an injury from an office fall is two times more likely to be a disabling injury than falls that happen in any other environment.
Falls, slips, and trips that cause an employee to get hurt can be devastating both for the injured party in lost wages and chronic health problems, and the company in lost productivity and costs from worker’s compensation. They can lead to broken bones, head or back injuries, and other severe complications.
Fortunately, most falls are easily preventable with the right care.
Only Use a Ladder
Never use anything but a ladder or appropriate step stool to reach something. Standing on a chair, desk, box, or even an overturned trash bin can lead to serious injury if they tip or can’t support the person’s weight.
Keep Walk Ways Clear
Offices rely on computers, printers, phones, and other electronic devices, all requiring cords and cables to stay connected. Keeping them neat, organized, and located where they are out of walk ways and appropriately secured is essential to keeping the team from tripping and getting hurt.
Additionally, other ways to keep walk ways trip-free include:
- Storing boxes, supplies, and products in an appropriate location.
- Keeping carpet and flooring in good condition.
- Keeping desk and file drawers closed and secure.
- Placing waste bins out of the aisles and walk ways.
Clean Spills and Liquids Immediately
You may not think of too many instances of liquid or water on the floor of an office, but they are more common than you may realize, including:
- People arrive from outside where it’s raining, snowing, or muddy, and tracking it onto tile or hard-surface flooring;
- Water splashing from sinks in the restrooms;
- Spilled drinks in the break room;
Cleaning these up immediately, and placing “Wet Floor” signs near entry ways when it’s wet outside can prevent slips that can cause serious injury.
Providing First Aid for Falls at Your Office
If someone does fall or slip at your office, first aid needs to be administered immediately whether it’s a serious or minor injury to prevent complications later on.
An Unconscious Victim
If someone falls and their injury renders them unconscious, call 911 immediately, then check for an open airway, breathing, and pulse. If they are not breathing or don’t have a pulse, begin CPR.
If they are breathing and have a pulse, do not move the victim or try to wake them up. Instead, stay with them until first responders arrive, frequently checking for breathing and a pulse.
If the victim is bleeding, apply firm pressure with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding.
A Conscious Victim
After a fall, if the victim is conscious but has a serious injury, such as a broken leg or spinal injury, call 911 and keep the victim immobile to avoid further injury. Provide a blanket or clothing for warmth if the victim is cold and stay with them until help arrives.
Minor injuries, such as a sprain or minor fracture still requires medical attention, with someone transporting the injured person to the hospital. Until they can leave, apply ice to a sprain and keep it elevated to reduce swelling.
Preventing Injury from Strains or Repeated Motions
Aside from falls, muscle strains and back injury from lifting, or injuries from repeated motions, such as carpal tunnel are common types of workplace injury.
Use Safe Practices When Lifting
Lifting a box of paper, files, or other items can lead to a back or neck injury if done incorrectly. First, don’t try to be a hero – if it’s a heavy item, ask for assistance. Also, follow these safe lifting tips:
- Lift with your legs, not your back.
- Keep your back straight as you raise up.
- Hold the box or item close to you instead of holding it outward and avoid twisting or turning sharply while carrying something.
- Set the item down using your legs for support, rather than bending your spine.
Avoid Repetitive Motion Injuries
Typing and sitting at a desk for much of the day can lead to carpal tunnel problems and back issues. Sitting with good posture, keeping your monitor at eye level, and adjusting your chair and keyboard so your wrists are straight and your elbows are at a 90 degree angle will minimize injury.
Treating Muscle Strain and Repetitive Motion Injury
A pulled or strained muscle is not a medical emergency, but it is still painful. If you pulled or strained a muscle from lifting or turning, apply an ice pack to the affected area for about 10 to 15 minutes per hour. Using an over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen can reduce pain along with topical treatments may be beneficial.
Injury from carpal tunnel or similar problems may be treated with a brace and over the counter medication, but it’s important to speak with a physician about long-term treatment options.
Learn How to Perform First Aid in Your Office
Accidents and injury can happen anywhere, and an office is no exception. Knowing first aid will help you stay calm and take appropriate action, and it’s important information for everyone in the office to have. We offer classes at our American Heart Association approved training facility here in Raleigh and can also come to your organization for on-site training.
Make sure everyone in your office is first aid and CPR certified to make your workplace safer. To learn more or to schedule classes, reach out to us today at 919-639-4848 or by filling out our contact form!