Brisbane office occupations are often underestimated as areas of work risk. Administrative and support office staff are often assumed to be in a safe work environment compared to factory workers or miners.
In Queensland, office occupations are often underestimated when it comes to an assessment of work risk. Secretaries, administrative and support staff are often assumed to be in a safer work environment compared to factory workers or miners. Many office workers feel that their injuries are treated as undermined simply because they are put in a completely unrealistic comparison alongside the military, mining or farming professions.
This misconception often makes an office injury accident claim under WorkCover QLD a little more complex for assessing proper damages and medical treatment in an office accident during the course of employment.
The very nature of busy Brisbane localities and other cities in Queensland such as the Gold Coast, Cairns and Beenleigh can contribute a lot of stress to the office.
Poor office safety policies can lead to the following hazards at the workplace:
Back and neck injuries are the most common injuries when workers try to lift heavy objects. However, head injuries can also result when a heavy item falls on a worker.
It is important for workplaces to implement training programs and reasonable restrictions on heavy lifting.
Back & Neck Injuries
Ergonomic issues such as a computer screen being set too high, or improper posture while sitting or typing can result in workers being forced to maintain their neck in the same position for extended amounts of time
Neck muscles can soon become cramped, sore or even inflamed. Sprains and strains of the neck can affect productivity at minimum, or result in more serious longer term medical conditions.
Poor ergonomic posture and lack of stretching during the course of the work day is also a major contribution to office chair back injuries because of constant pressure being put on back muscles. This can lead to back and spinal pain, as well as chronic stiffness.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time can result in spinal discs compressing and cramping as well as causing hip inflexibility. This further aggravates the stress levels in the lower back and spine.
It is no wonder then that back and neck injuries are one of the most disputed issues in WorkCover claims, especially for prolonged medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)
Constant, repetitive motions can stress tendons and ligaments, which leads to inflammation and pain. This can result in a number of RSI conditions such as: carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis or tennis elbow.
Repetitive stress injuries should not be ignored or underestimated because they can be debilitating and lead to serious financial hardships if a worker is unable to continue working.
Eyestrain from staring at bright screens for extended periods can lead to eye fatigue and blurry vision. At worst, this effect can last for a long period of time and if blurry vision is not addressed then it can lead to further risks, especially if they are driving.
Slip & Fall Injuries
Offices may be full of slip and fall hazards such as loose carpets, power cords and other objects. Spills in the office kitchen can also lead to slip and fall injuries at work.
Injuries from these kinds of work accidents can be something as nominal as a musculoskeletal sprain or at worse, they can lead to a traumatic brain injury or paraplegia if the person where to fall and land on their head.
Psychological injuries such as stress, depression or anxiety can arise if they are not addressed early. Stress can eventually build into depression or lead to carelessness and exposure to other office injury risks.
It is important to maintain a good work/life balance, as well as prioritize time for family and friends.
What are the responsibilities of my employer?
Employers have a duty of care to ensure a reasonably safe work area for their employees. This can be achieved in ways such as::
- Job safety analysis to assess the risks found in job duties of workers.
- Detailed training and guidance on manual handling and how to otherwise safely carry out work.
- Policies that encourages office workers to only move heavy equipment with assistance.
- Education on high risk activities involved with manual handling and the risk of injury associated with lifting excessive weights, reaching, lifting things away from the body, shifting weights (like liquids), overhead lifting and twisting, etc.
- Restrictions on employees from lifting heavy items above shoulder height.
- Flexible work environments where possible, such as allowing employers to change duties so that they are not exposed to the same repetitive tasks using the same muscles for long periods of time.
- Encouraging safe practices such as taking multiple trips at reduced load weight.
- Regularly checking, monitoring and supervising staff for adherence to safety rules and processes.
- Giving workers adequate time to sufficiently and safely complete worker duties.
Are you a Brisbane office worker who has been injured in an accident?
The office worker stigma is a potentially challenging aspect of workers compensation, especially if the injury is serious, debilitating and preventing continued employment.
East Coast Injury Lawyers can help. Simply take advantage of a free, no obligation initial consultation so you can speak to one of our accredited specialists in personal injury and tell your story by calling us at 1300 720 544 or filling in our free case review form today.