Hazards of an Office Job

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Are you sitting down? That may not be such a good thing. Just because you're behind a desk all day, it doesn’t mean you are not exposed to risk or harm.

An office might look safe but hidden dangers lurk everywhere

Have a Break

Look around your desk, you see a monitor (maybe two?) And a keyboard, mouse, phone, and a chair. It's hard to believe that this could be the site of a potential hazard, but your desk and even your wider office could be a health and safety nightmare.

Work activities should be scheduled in such a way that employees receive regular breaks away from their desks. Whilst there is no specified time for these breaks, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advise they be short and frequent, as these are better than longer occasional ones.

Working With A Computer?

Straining to see this article? Staring at a screen all day can put considerable strain on your eyes and make them tired. You may not even notice that you're straining your eyes for quite some time. If you're using Display Screen Equipment (DSE) your employer must provide eye and eyesight tests on request according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as well as controlling the risks. If glasses are needed specifically for DSE work, your employer is obliged to provide them. Assessing the risks of using DSE equipment is the role of your employer, but you are encouraged to take part as well. You can help them to spot the risks and put provisions into place to control the situation.

Making sure your screen is properly adjusted, glare free, and that the surface is clean are just the basics of making sure you reduce eyestrain at work. Ensuring the screen doesn't flicker and the individual characters on the screen are sharp and clear is also essential to reducing the strain on your eyes.

According to the HSE, there is no evidence that permanent damage is caused by working with DSE, but any existing conditions can seem to be made worse by their prolonged use.

Back Pain and Bad Chairs

Are you sitting comfortably? Most office workers aren't. It is estimated that around 4 in 5 people have a desk job, with working hours typically being 9am to 5pm with an hour for lunch. The BBC reported back in 2012, that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health. That can be taken as a given, but let's look at this topic further.

Ergonomically designed workstations are great, if they're set up properly. Seats and seat backs should be fully adjustable in both height and tilt but most people just leave it as it is or fail to adjust it properly. Your chair should be at a height where you can rest your wrists and forearms straight and parallel with the floor. This can really help to avoid repetitive strain injuries, a common trait of working an office job.

Your lower back should be supported by your chair and you should make sure your knees are level with your hips. Approximately 7.6 million work days are lost every year due to back pain alone, making it a huge problem for office employees and their employers. On average, 36.3 hours a week is the amount of time the UK workforce spends doing their job. That's a lot of time behind the screen.

Make sure your desk or your office doesn't become a future hazard.


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