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Can workers' comp benefits be sought for injuries at the office?

Carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strains, tendinitis and lower back problems are prevalent among office workers in New York. Such injuries at the office can affect the tendons, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels and nerves of employees. However, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, practicing proper ergonomics can prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

Ergonomics fit jobs to workers by eliminating risk factors that expose employees to injuries that may lead to MSDs. These risks include repetitions of particular motions throughout the day. In an office environment, this could be typing, using a calculator, clicking a mouse or flipping through paperwork. The tissue surrounding the joints utilized for these actions can suffer trauma. There is also static loading or sustained exertions that follow long periods of staring at a monitor screen and sitting without movement for extended periods.

Another risk is awkward postures and body positions that can occur when workers spend extended periods of time in slouched or bent positions, cradling a telephone between shoulder and ear to leave the hands free to operate a mouse and keyboard. Then there is mechanical stress caused by constant contact with a hard surface under the wrist, elbow or the back of the thighs of a worker in an inappropriate chair. Furthermore, the force by which a mouse is gripped, or if the keyboard is pounded, along with grasping heavy folders can cause strain on small muscles.

While none of these injuries at the office seems severe, they can be debilitating if employees are exposed to these hazards for years. While the New York workers' compensation program covers all work-related injuries, it might be difficult to motivate a claim for MSDs. With the support and guidance of an experienced workers' comp attorney who is seasoned in protecting the rights of office workers, the necessary medical evidence might be obtained to support a benefits claim for financial compensation.

Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, "For good office ergonomics, avoid these 5 risks", March 3, 2017

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