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What Types of Injuries Make Office Workers Eligible for Workers’ Comp?

June 12, 2023

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When you look at lists of the most dangerous jobs in America, office jobs are usually nowhere to be found.

However, despite being safer than many other types of vocations, office jobs can still put workers at risk of suffering injuries—some of which can be painful and disabling.

In Ohio, almost all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage, whether their employees spend their days working on heavy machinery, or working on spreadsheets.

That means office workers who get hurt at work are also typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Here are some of the most common injuries among office workers that lead to workers’ comp applications.

Repetitive Motion Disorders

Whether it’s typing, moving a mouse, answering a phone, or filing papers, the typical movements office workers make on a given day are unlikely to injure them right away. But over time, these movements can cause workers to suffer repetitive motion disorders. These disorders occur when workers do the same motions over and over for weeks, months, or years. Eventually, they can cause extreme pain and disability.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common example of a repetitive motion disorder, and it frequently occurs in workers who are forced to use non-ergonomic workstations that put unnecessary strain on their muscles, joints, and nerves. Unfortunately, people can suffer repetitive motion disorders even when using ergonomically designed desks, chairs, keyboards, and computer mice.

Slips and Falls

Office workers also face the risk of suffering serious injuries if they slip, trip, or fall while at work. These injuries can occur in offices the same way they occur anywhere else.

For example, workers may slip on pooled water near an entrance on a rainy day, or they may fall down a stairwell because of a broken railing. Workers also may be asked to stand on ladders to reach high shelves or hang decorations for office parties, only to fall due to the ladders being broken, defective, or improperly secured. Finally, workers can trip over boxes, chairs, cords, and other objects that were carelessly left in walkways.

Lifting Injuries

People who work in offices usually aren’t tasked with heavy lifting, but it’s not always the weight of an object that causes an injury. Instead, workers may be injured because items are bulky or awkward to pick up and carry, which can put stress on muscles, joints, and parts of the spine that aren’t typically used when lifting.

For example, workers have been seriously injured lifting boxes of paper, desktop computers, monitors, chairs, filing cabinets, and other objects they use or with which they come into contact while at work. And while some workers may have no problem lifting these objects, others may struggle—and they may injure themselves in the process.

Cuts and Lacerations

The average office is full of sharp objects that can cause serious injuries. Serious injuries can occur while workers are using box cutters if their hands slip or if they drop the tools onto themselves or others.

Many offices also have large paper trimmers/stack cutters, which have large, exposed blades. These tools are capable of cutting large stacks of paper at once, but that convenience also makes them liable to cause serious cuts and lacerations. In some cases, workers have been injured by sharp edges on desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and other common objects and furniture inside offices.

When cuts are deep enough, workers may suffer nerve and tendon damage, which can make it difficult or impossible to work.

Workers’ compensation in Ohio doesn’t cover just injuries—it also covers illnesses, too. And while office workers usually don’t come into direct contact with hazardous materials, chemicals, or pathogens like workers in laboratories or industrial settings, they can still develop serious illnesses due to a condition called “sick building syndrome.”

Workers may develop a variety of symptoms from exposure to poor air quality, mold, allergens, lead paint, and more. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. When people are repeatedly exposed to irritants or contaminants in a building, their symptoms may become severe and prevent them from working.

Car Accident Injuries

Driving to and from work usually isn’t considered a work-related activity, and that means crashes that occur during those times aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. However, crashes that occur while performing work-related duties, such as driving to visit a client, driving to an offsite meeting, or driving to pick up or drop off work-related items often are covered by workers’ compensation.

Car accident injuries that occur during work-related tasks are covered by workers’ comp whether they occur in a worker’s personal vehicle, in a company vehicle, or even in a coworker’s vehicle.

Our Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help with Your Office Injury Claim

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we know that it’s common for office workers to feel reluctant to file workers’ compensation claims after on-the-job injuries. They often feel like their injuries aren’t serious enough to get benefits or that their occupations disqualify them from receiving benefits. Don’t fall into this trap! 

If you’re injured at work and your employer is required to have workers’ compensation, you deserve benefits—and we want to help you get them. Contact us anytime for a free consultation. We have decades of experience building successful applications for injured workers, and we know what it takes to get them approved.

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