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When most people envision the phrase “hazardous work environment,” it is unlikely they think of an office building. However, it is important to realize that injuries can happen anywhere, and with the prevalence of office workers in the United States, injuries happen quite often in offices.

In fact, some of the statistics surrounding office injuries may surprise you. According to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, people who work in offices are over two times more likely to suffer a disabling injury from a fall as compared to people who do not work in offices.

Why are falls so common?

There are many hidden hazards in an office environment. Many people trip over open file drawers, wires and electrical cords, loose carpeting and other objects left carelessly around the office.

Another common source of falls is using a chair to reach high up objects as compared to using a step ladder. Particularly if the chair has wheels rather than a solid base. Wet floors may also be a huge hazard, particularly if they are not marked appropriately with yellow warning signs.

What can I do to prevent injury?

The most important thing is to be aware. Make sure that you are paying attention to your surroundings and not just your coworker if you are walking down an office hallway. You can also prevent injury by ensuring that you keep all file drawers closed when you are not using them. Finally, taking the time to go get a proper step ladder rather than trying to stand on a chair to reach higher objects will prevent you from falling off a chair.