Safety First: Your Chair Is Not a Step Stool
In Work Emergencies & Guidelines By stacymorgan

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Practical applications of common sense to keep you safe in the office.


People traditionally think of work injuries occurring in fields like construction and manufacturing, but the cubicle bound are far from immune to injury.  Follow these tips and use common sense to avoid any trip to the doctor’s office. 


Using Poor Form


You can cause lasting damage to your back if you don’t exercise proper posture at your desk.  Make sure you chair is ergonomically designed and offers lumbar support, and keep your feet flat on the floor.  If your back tends to ache a bit at the end of the day you need to adjust your habits.  Sit up straight at your desk and stand up frequently for a quick walk to the water fountain or copy machine to keep blood flowing and prevent stiffness.  Requisition personal safety items that can prevent painful long term stress injuries while using the computer, like a mouse pad with a gel wrist rest.  Your employer would much rather purchase an inexpensive wrist rest now than pay extensive workman’s compensation bills later.  Remember high school typing classes?  Reach back in your brain for the lessons you learned on proper typing form and utilize them to prevent strain to your arms, fingers and wrists. 


Physical Hazards


Filing seems like a relatively safe procedure, right?  Then it will be all the more embarrassing if you do suffer an injury while filing.  Most filing cabinets are equipped with safety features, but in case yours are not, be sure to close each drawer before you open a new one.  It’s crazy, but if there’s too much weight in open drawers, that monster will tip over.  Ten years of accounting records is going to HURT when they land on your foot.  Also take care not to open a cabinet, duck down below it and then stand up underneath, smashing your head.  Archive rooms are not frequented often, so it could be a long time before someone finds you unconscious on the floor.  Ladders can be very dangerous as well.  If you must climb a ladder make sure it is well stabilized, and avoid the top few rungs.  And ladies, stilettos are not safe footwear for ladder scaling – find someone to help you.


Use Common Sense


Common sense is you greatest tool for work safety. Use items for their intended purposes only.  Your office chair is not a step stool, your office desk is not a seat or ladder (or bed, for those of you who burn the midnight oil).  Be careful walking across icy parking lots and sidewalks.  Office safety should be a top priority for your employer, so if you see a potential hazard bring it to their attention.  They should be more than happy to provide ice salt and parking lot lighting in the name of work safety. 


In a time where insurance can be downright unaffordable for young workers and medical bills can send you straight into bankruptcy, you don’t want to hurt yourself by simply being careless.  And let’s face it, costs aside, crutches and casts are really not your best look.

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