The Hazards of Office Work

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Even though more and more of the work force are working “safe” desk or IT jobs these days, there are still a lot of dangers (and injuries) that we can accrue working a desk job or sitting in an office all day.

It’s come to light in the past year or so with all those articles out there talking about how your desk job is killing you – but lets talk about specifically about what in your office – that you’re doing or that is a part of the atmosphere – is killing you quicker.

Clicking Around

It may not seem like a dangerous action, that is, clicking your mouse on something – some link, some image or some video – on your screen, but mouse clicking is actually one of the main injuries in the UK that leads to RSI or repetitive strain injury. Really.

It’s because, just like keyboards, people don’t know how to properly place the equipment they are using so that it’s easily reachable. You actually want to make sure that your armchairs are level with your desk to support your mouse arm. And if your chair doesn’t have arms? You’re going to want to put your mouse in a central location so that you aren’t straining to reach your mouse.

And then there is the tendinitis that you might get because you aren’t using your keyboard properly, aren’t typing properly.

So, if you don’t want to have arthritic hands and wrist joints by the time you’re 35, learn how to sit and type properly.

Desk-Side Dining

This isn’t a risk really to anyone but yourself – but dining at your desk actually makes your keyboard tremendously unhygienic. One in five keyboards pose a serious health risk, an acclaimed microbiologist noted. And then in his examination of keyboards at a specific company, he found a keyboard that had 150 times the safe limit of bacteria – meaning, that keyboard was five times dirtier than the office toilets.

There is also another side effect of desk side dining – not only can in make your keyboard really, really gross, it also encourages you to choose the “easy” unhealthy foods, or the free foods that your office may offer every once in a while, whether it’s doughnuts in the morning or bagels in the afternoon, most office snacks are high carb or high sugar choices.

Recycled Air

Working in an office means that you hear the familiar hum of air-conditioning units – most of the time. But did you know that while the AC gives you the relief that you need from the heat, it means that you’re also two and a half times more prone to respiratory problems than if you’re working in a naturally ventilated environment.

Working in an office also means that you have a lot of electronics – which discharges a lot of…well, electrical charge into the air. Which, for you, means that you could be more tired, get headaches as well as skin and eye irritation.

Long story short – open your windows.

Cord Clutter

Along with a lot of electronics comes a lot of electronics cords. And yup, you guessed it, people trip. This is probably one of the more obvious hazards of office work, but it still bears noting that any opportunity you get you are going to want to organize your cords, bunching them together so they aren’t strewn all over the floors (or your desk), and make sure that smaller objects that are connected to the cords (like routers) are off the floor.

Sarah Barnes is a freelance writer that hopes that if you get injured at work you hire a team of workers comp lawyers in New York or whatever state you’re living in to get you the care that you deserve. But, in the best of worlds, she hopes that you don’t get hurt at work in the first place!


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