As someone primarily working in an office, it’s unlikely that you initially think of your job as dangerous. Each job carries with it its inherent hazards, administrative or clerical jobs included.
Throughout the remainder of this article, we’ll go over what are the most common workplace accidents in an office. We’ll also highlight what rights Mississippi law affords you if you get hurt.
What Are the Leading Workplace Injury Risks That You Face?
The National Safety Council compiled data regarding why employees missed time from work in 2020. At the top of the list was workers’ exposure to harmful environments or substances. This factor ranked particularly high that year, considering it previously came in sixth place. Analysts suspect this change in ranking was due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you set aside that one factor as the leading cause of workers missing work, then other ever-present issues continue to rank highly as the most common workplace hazards in an office setting. These include:
- Overexertion or bodily reaction injuries
- Slips, trips, and falls
The combination of the three above-referenced injuries was responsible for at least 75% of all workplace injuries in the United States in 2020. Contact with objects or equipment formed part of the top three injuries workers faced before exposure injuries assumed its place.
Rounding out the list of the top six factors putting office workers at risk of getting hurt or dying on the job in 2020 included transportation incidents and workplace violence inflicted by either animals or other individuals.
Workplace accidents may also result in electrocutions and burns. Common everyday injury risks clerical workers face in addition to the aforementioned include ergonomic ones and eye strain. We’ll detail different injuries that Gulfport workers often suffer, how they occur, and how they impact workers’ lives below.
Workers who find themselves often transporting heavy objects around their office on a regular, prolonged basis are at increased risk of suffering sprained or strained tendons and muscles and run the risk of tearing ligaments.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
A variety of circumstances such as recently waxed or mopped, chipped, or uneven tile flooring and worn, soiled, or torn carpet may cause workers to slip and fall within an office environment. Puddled water at the building’s entryway or in the restroom may also pose a hazard. Electrical cords that aren’t taped down, cluttered aisles between desks and cubicles or in a building’s hallways and stairwells may also increase workers’ risk of slipping and falling.
Slips, trips, and falls are types of accidents that can result in any number of injuries, ranging from minor, recoverable ones like bruises, bone sprains, and bone fractures to life-altering ones, like head injuries or paralysis. The most severe injuries are likely to result from a worker trying to break their fall and striking a stationary object when their body comes crashing down.
Building owners have a responsibility to ensure that their premises are safe. That means that the landlord your employer rents their office space from should ensure that there aren’t any potential electrical hazards when they turn over the unit to the company you work for.
It’s your employer’s responsibility to ensure that they don’t create any risks and report or repair (when they own the property) any issues as they arise, including exposed or otherwise poorly installed wiring, that could cause an electrical shock.
The momentary electrical shock sensation that you’ve felt when plugging something in before is nothing like electrocution. An electrocution can:
- Cause internal organ or brain damage
- Leave behind lasting nerve damage
- Cause you to go into cardiac arrest
- Result in you suffering burns
- Claim your life
Repetitive Stress Injuries
This type of injury isn’t necessarily caused by a single event but repeated use, much like what leads to overexertion injuries. Two examples of repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.
Individuals suffering from repetitive stress injuries may initially notice the following symptoms of their condition:
Workers’ initial symptoms may be sporadic, resulting in more persistent neurological impulses, intense pain, and limited functionality over time. This condition is one of the leading complaints that office workers face.
The numbers of violent incidents occurring in the workplace have starkly increased over the years. Many of these incidents start as domestic disputes at home that a partner brings to their victim’s workplace. Other violent incidents stem from co-worker disputes or may be initiated by unhappy customers who haven’t mastered the art of non-violent communication.
Employers should have safety protocols in place, including an open-door policy where workers worried about violence can report their concerns before a violent incident. Many employers turn a blind eye to such concerns, though.
These are similar to repetitive stress and overexertion injuries in that they generally don’t occur as the result of a single event. They instead progressively get worse over time.
Neck and back injuries are perhaps the most common complaints that ergonomic injury sufferers face.
Office workers’ neck injuries often result from them staring down at a screen or desk for an extended amount of time. They may also occur if a worker is required to keep their head positioned at an awkward angle on the phone for a prolonged period. Back injuries may develop if a clerical worker isn’t provided with adequate seating that keeps their spine appropriately aligned.
How Can an Attorney Help You if You’ve Suffered a Workplace Injury?
As a worker here in Mississippi, it’s important that you know that Mississippi law requires all employers who have at least five standard employees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries or illnesses that occur or have an onset in the workplace. What does this mean for you if you get hurt or fall ill on the job here in Gulfport?
It means that you can see the doctor that your employer selects or one of your choosing to treat your work-related injuries. Your employer’s workers’ comp insurance policy will generally cover those doctors’ visits and some of your lost wages, provided they can confirm that your injury incident or illness is attributable to your work.
You only have a limited amount of time to notify your employer of your injury or illness-inducing incident and initiate treatment. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, are well-versed on all the timelines and protocols that apply to cases like yours. Your work with one of our Gulfport lawyers is one step in the right direction to recovering fair compensation in your case. Your initial consultation with our attorneys is free. Schedule it now.