Hazards of the Modern Office

The days of going to work, sitting down in a cubicle, and staring at a desktop computer for eight hours are becoming a thing of the past. Cubicles still exist, but are being phased out for open-air concepts with little visual obstructions. An example can be a tech startup moving into an old warehouse and utilizing all of the open space. Of course, technology makes most of this change possible with the emergence of powerful laptop computing and the versatility of tablets. Mobile technology, modern work environments, and other changes in workplace behaviors introduce new workplace risk exposures that have not been a problem in the past. These risk exposures can lead to unforeseen costly workers compensation claims, and it is important for businesses to recognize these risks and protect themselves to the best of their ability.

As workplace environments become modern, some of the new additions can pose new risks.

1. There are new ways emerging for employees to blow off steam at work that introduce new risks. Lounges with activities such as table tennis or foosball tables can cause injury. Stationary bikes in the conference room are relatively new as well. Treadmill desks present an inherent hazard, but are becoming popular because of how they stimulate employees.

2. Spending hours reading smartphones and tablets have been proven to cause pain to the neck and spine. Employees in the 1980’s did not have to worry about these specific risks that can adversely affect performance.

3. An emerging trend with mobile technology is the ability to work from home or other locations not in the office. Anything can happen to an employee in these situations, as well as cybersecurity concerns that can arise. When employees aren’t working from the office, the uncertainty of potential risk exposures should worry employers.

4. Some offices have introduced pet-friendly policies. This seems to be a harmless move, but can have negative results. There is always the possibility that the animal causes an injury or creates allergic reactions for employees. They can even cause emotional problems, because believe it or not, not everyone is a dog or cat person.

5. With mobile technology readily available, employers expect employees to work beyond typical work hours. This can cause physical health risks such as loss of sleep, as well as emotional health risks from the pressure of expectations.

6. Sitting still all the time has been linked to high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and obesity. The way we sit, stand, bend, push, pull or lift all have a direct impact on employee health and well-being in the workplace, which in turn, affects your business.

Lugging the minimum daily adult requirement of gym gear, laptops and lunch stuff can be a pain in the neck (also shoulders, back, maybe even knees). Here are a few tips to help prevent aches and injuries.

DOs

* Take a hard look at your daily haul. A heavy tote can mess with your craniovertebral junction, aka the neck, as well as the curvature at the small of your back.

* Use two straps rather than one. If both shoulders can share the weight, you can minimize your risk of injury. If you must use a single strap bag, wear it cross-body style to minimize pressure on your muscles, nerves and joints.

* Carry your bag close to the body. Doing so will minimize the stress on your spine.

DON'Ts

* Don't carry more than 25 pounds in a single bag. Each additional pound you carry adds three additional pounds of pressure to your joints.

* Don't stuff your bag haphazardly. Place heavier items toward the bottom and distribute the rest of the load evenly.

* Don't cling to painful habits. If you love your leather tote too much to give it up, simply lighten its load and consign the rest to a rolling laptop bag.

Travelers Insurance has some examples of the changes in workplace risk.

If you have questions or would like more information, call any of our 3 locations in the Chicago-land area today. Our customer service representatives are eager to share their knowledge and speak with you about any insurance related topic. Zeiler Insurance is an independent insurance agency and has been providing quality customer service for 101 years in our Alsip, Chicago, and Gurnee locations. Our goal is to help you understand insurance as well as provide you with the most competitive insurance rates in the industry. Whether you are a customer or just want more information, let us help you with our years of expertise in the insurance business.

Dan
dan@zeiler.com
708.597.5900 x134
www.zeiler.com

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