We spend a lot of time talking about safety in production and forestry settings, often neglecting offices in the discussions.
It is easy to be seriously injured in an office, too. Loaded file cabinets that can tip over when top drawers are opened, frayed extension cords, desk corners. On and on--the list is certainly a long one.
One of my favorites is the paper cutter. A hinged guillotine--what could possibly go wrong here?
There are some sleepers in the bunch, too. Poorly adjusted or poorly made desk chairs that send you home with a sore back that in ten years turns into a back operation that no one can understand.
Sedentary office activities that lead to heart attacks in your fifties.
Before personal computers, while sedentary, offices were not quite as sedentary as they are now. After all, you had to move all those pieces of paper around--file them, fetch them, cut them, copy them and mail them. That all took movement.
Today we spend a lot of time sitting in front of our computers. Sitting in a chair and barely moving, I can work on four computer screens, grab the microphone and record a podcast, staple papers together and shred paper. And I have barely moved at all--all within arm's length.
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I do have to get up to go to the copier/printer/scanner/fax or to fetch a cup of coffee. The bathroom is five steps beyond the coffee pot which is six steps from my office chair. This entire arrangement is two flights of stairs from my bedroom. I wonder why I get fat and lazy.
In your office, you may have a few steps to be negotiated regularly, poor lighting or poor ventilation.
People were not designed for this environment. It is actually better, from an overall health perspective, to be out in a manufacturing space (that is properly equipped for safety) where you have a chance to be active.
An adjunct to office safety is airport safety. There is no one watching out for you there--you can easily be run over, kicked, gouged or just simply knocked down. Should you survive this, you have the joys of sitting on the plane in a poor posture position for several hours constantly rebreathing the same stale air with your fellow passengers.
I had shoulder surgery a few years ago which the orthopedist said was simply the result of throwing a bag into planes' overhead bins for forty-five years.
So, when we think about safety and health, let's not forget about the office. There are plenty of hazards here, too.
For safety this week, let's go back to that file cabinet--an open top file drawer that causes it to crash to the ground or an open bottom drawer that is trip hazard. Make sure you do not cause either.
Be safe and we will talk next week.
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