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"Corporate safety consultants and executives point out that strict rules for office safety can reduce injuries, cut down on workers' comp costs, make employees more aware of the dangers their colleagues in the field are facing and promote teamwork," write Rachel Feintzeig and Alexandra Berzon. "Yet worker-safety advocates say that not all office-safety programs represent the best use of resources."
In 2011, 4,693 workers died on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- an average of 13 workers per day. The AFL-CIO estimates that between 7.6 million and 11.4 million Americans are injured on the job each year, and notes that these numbers have declined significantly in recent years, over the past three years, they've remained steady.
In other words, it's not crazy to concentrate on safety at work. But are office workers as at-risk as, say, loggers or construction workers? (Short answer: no. No they are not.)
The real risk to office workers is probably a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting, slouching, working too much and exercising too little -- all are more likely to affect your health in the long run than a loose extension cord in the morning meeting.
So if you work in an office and want to keep yourself and your co-workers healthy, maybe the answer isn't to issue "stop work" cards. Maybe the answer is to ask for standing or treadmill desks, or more frequent breaks.
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