The Dangers of Your Safe and Cushy Office Job
Do you spend your evenings watching a certain group of adventurers brave the dangers of the icy north for a chance at a beautiful haul of ocean gold in the shape of crabs? Do you find yourself thinking “I’m glad I work in a climate controlled environment where the only risk I have is a static shock when I sit down to work”?
Believe it or not there are definitely risks to working in a “safe” office environment, and while they certainly can’t come close to working on a tiny little boat in the frigid waters of the arctic, they are very real and can and do become dangerous to an everyday office worker.
Have a nice trip
Possibly one of the biggest accidents that happen in an office environment comes in the way of slipping, tripping, and falling. Loose cords from power strips and other electronics, uneven carpeting, wet floors, obstructed hallways, a lack of railing on stairways, and icy sidewalks make for a hazardous environment that will challenge any billy-goat to keep its footing.
It may not seem like much of an issue, but a UK study found that slips and trips accounted for nearly half of major office accidents. They even account for nearly a third of injuries that keep people out of work for more than three days.
Increasing the Cushion of your Cushion
This may be an obvious one, but sitting down for extended periods of time is not exactly the biggest calorie burning exercise that you can do. Low physical activity levels are a contributing factor to metabolic syndrome. Along with increasing your risk for heart disease it will also increase the size of your rump. Even though people might take time to go to the gym, recent research has shown that after work exercise does little for your fitness if you spend the rest of your day seated in a low-activity hunch over the keyboard at a desk.
Remaining seated at your keyboard for hours on end can also lead to other painful conditions. Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur from the repetitive actions involved with incessant typing on your work computer. Lower back pain is also common in those who stay seated with bad posture. The human body is designed for movement, and a lack of movement can result in some pretty painful injuries.
Hold your Breath
How energy efficient is the building you work in? Are the windows the kind that don’t open up and sealed with a solid space-age polymer? How old is your building?
Many office buildings, especially the older ones, are designed with the intention of keeping energy such as heating and air conditioning inside the building. The problem with this design is that those aren’t the only things they are keeping in. A design that brings air in but keeps it from getting out, in the name of conserving energy, means that your office air is recycling itself. That deep and exhausted sigh that your coworker let out 20 minutes ago, that’s the air that you’re breathing now.
Besides breathing in the instant-ramen tainted breaths of your coworkers there are other hazardous inhalants that exist in an office. Do you know what ozone is? It’s not just hanging around in the upper level of the atmosphere waiting for the human race to obliterate it completely. It also is emitted from many common pieces of office equipment and can cause serious health problems in the form of an increased risk to heart disease and cancer.
The good news is your office copier, the big bad ozone manufacturer in your office, is equipped with a convenient filter designed to eliminate the output of ozone into the office atmosphere. And of course your office changes that filter regularly. Right?
While your office may be a nice and climate controlled environment, it can also be a serious risk to your health. Awareness is always a good first step though, and if you know what the dangers of office work are, then you’re better prepared for dealing with them.
Dennis Aimes is a freelance writer and insurance advisor who shamelessly shills income protection insurance from AAMI. When he’s on the clock he enjoys helping people with their personal finance needs and goals. Off the clock Dennis enjoys the company of a tasty burger and a cheap domestic draft.