Simply having a desk job may be the cause of workplace injury.
Spending the bulk of the day in a sitting position can put you at risk of developing serious back, leg, neck injuries, yet many of us get up only a few times throughout the day to walk to the break room, restroom, or to a colleague’s office.
To make matters worse, a majority of employees also drive or take public transportation to their offices, then spend most of their free time sitting in front of TVs, computers and game consoles at home. Americans are sedentary about 21 hours per day when sitting and sleeping hours are combined.
The World Health Organization now ranks physical inactivity as 4th largest killer globally, behind obesity.” -getamericastanding.org
This phenomenon has come to be known as “sitting disease”, a term used by the scientific community when referring to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.
Work-Related Injuries Caused by Sitting
It is essential that you have the ability to move throughout the day in order to maintain your health, even if you work out. Research shows that prolonged sitting prevents proper breakdown of blood sugar and cholesterol, chief culprits in diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.
People who spend more time sitting are more likely to have:
- higher blood sugar levels
- more disease-fueling fats called triglycerides
- lower levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol
- increased calcium and fatty buildup in the arteries
- deep vein thrombosis
- chronic low back pain
- weakened bones
- neck strain and sore shoulders
The personal injuries that are associated with prolonged periods of sitting can all have complications that impact an individual’s life. Minor complications include stiffness and soreness, while more severe complications like deep vein thrombosis can cause a heart attack or a stroke.
How to Avoid “Sitting” Workplace Injuries
The easy fix is to move more. Take a few minutes out of each day and move, preferably every 20 minutes if you can. Even something simple like looking at the ceiling, rolling shoulders back and sitting up straight are examples of “movements” that can help you.
Find out if your employer is willing to bring in a physical therapist for an ergonomic consultation. He or she can analyze your work station and make suggestions for correcting your body’s alignment with your chair, phone, keyboard and monitor. Your employer should also be willing to invest in ergonomically designed equipment, if only to avoid liability in a workplace injury case.
When You Need a Work Injury Lawyer
If you find yourself suffering from sitting on the job or a work station that causes discomfort, it may be best to speak to a licensed practitioner about your health options. Back problems and hip injuries may make you eligible for worker’s compensation if they were caused by sitting in your chair at work.
If you are injured because your chair gives out and you fall to the ground, or if you are forced to sit in an unnatural way at work, you can seek compensation for your sitting-related injury. Consult an experienced work injury lawyer to find out if you have a case.