It may be almost comical to think of an office worker being injured at work. After all, what is the worst that can happen. A stapler goes feral and starts attacking employees? Falling from the great height of an office chair?
Unfortunately, for those suffering from employment-related injuries resulting from office work, such flippancy is ill-reflective of the on-going pain and suffering some people suffer every day.
The list of possible work-related ailments is extensive. They include:
- eye strain
- severe headaches
- back pain
- neck strain
- repetitive strain injury
Sitting is the new smoking
The phrase, ‘sitting is the new smoking’ was coined by Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic. It followed on from a study which observed sitting habits of 800,000 people over a 15-year period. The findings showed that people who sat in front of the screen for more than four hours a day have increased risks of death by any cause by 50% and risks of heart attack, chest pain or similar ailments by 125%.
A study in the US analysing energy expenditure in occupations found that in the 1960s almost 50% of jobs required sustained moderate physical intensity, whereas today, less than 20% of occupations demand this level of energy expenditure . The study concluded that over the last 50 years, daily occupation-related energy expenditure decreased by more than 100 calories.
This has contributed to a dramatic increase in obesity and its associated diseases.
Constant screen time
Hands up if you never use a computer at work? Chances are you do. And some people, especially those in white collar professions, spend up to eight hours or more a day in front of a screen.
This development has led to many workers to suffer personal injuries such as:
Repetitive strain injury RSI
RSI is caused by performing repetitive movements such as typing on a keyboard which necessitate a repetitive movement of the hands, fingers, wrists or arms. Symptoms of RSI can include:
- Burning, aching or shooting pain.
- Tremors, clumsiness and numbness.
- Fatigue or lack of strength.
- Weakness in the hands or forearms. It is often difficult to perform even simple tasks.
- Difficulty with normal activities like opening doors, chopping vegetables, turning on a tap.
- Chronically cold hands, particularly the fingertips.
RSI worsens over time but it is curable in its early stages. However, chronic RSI is difficult to treat and can leave suffers in constant pain and unable to work.
Looking directly at a computer screen for hours at a time can strain your eyes or can make any other problems you are having with your vision seem more noticeable. Symptoms of eye-strain, or computer vision syndrome as it is sometimes known as, include:
- Eye discomfort
- Sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes
- Difficulty focusing
- Watery eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
Eye-strain is not normally permanent and having regular breaks away from the computer can relieve symptoms. However, some office environments are not contusive to encouraging regular breaks from the screen, which can result in employees being forced to work with blinding headaches and sore, dry eyes.
Back and neck injury
If you sit for long periods with poor posture or at an inadequate work station, you may run the risk of incurring a back or neck injury.
Office workers may experience stiffness to the neck when stooping or leaning at an angle to see a paper document while typing or when cradling a telephone between their head and shoulder.
Your employer’s responsibilities
You employer has a legislative and common law duty to protect you from harm at work. If you have suffered a work-related injury and believe it was caused by your employer’s negligence, you may be able to claim compensation.
For example, if you work from home and your employer has not provided you with a proper work station that protects your posture, and you suffer a back or neck injury, the court may find that your employer has breached their duty of care to you.
Compensation can help fund your rehabilitation so you can resume a normal, pain-free life. If you believe you are a victim of a work-related injury caused by negligence, contact our expert solicitors who can quickly establish whether you may have a compensation claim against your employer.
At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims. If you have suffered an injury because of an accident that was not your fault and would like a free claim assessment, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.