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Promoting work safety: A win-win for North Carolina employers

It's easy to understand why safety rules and employee training are necessary for some occupations like construction, mine and factory work. Does anyone really believe Raleigh office jobs are dangerous? The risk of serious injuries may be higher on a construction site, but there are plenty of potential hazards in office settings.

Trips over loose computer power cords or clutter in walkways, slips on wet floors and falls on stairs represent a few of everyday office dangers. Repeated stretching, bending and twisting motions can cause injuries over time. Sitting in front of a computer screen, typing and mouse clicking day after day may create or aggravate eye strain, neck or back aches and forearm or hand injuries.

North Carolina employers want employees to feel comfortable and safe in a work environment, although companies have other motives to make safety plans. An insurer is likely to raise premiums for businesses with a steady stream of workers' compensation claims. Productivity and profit suffer during injured employee absences.

Companies are doing more than showing safety-on-the-job films these days to prevent accidents. A recent Wall Street Journal report said U.S. companies like Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Nestle SA ask workers to review how they perform daily tasks and analyze the risks of injuries.

Some businesses have instituted regular safety hazard checks. At Exxon, a safety committee observed the way employees used the stairs. Notes were made when workers hurried, failed to use the handrail, carried large or numerous objects or were distracted by cellphones.

Some workers think businesses are emphasizing safety measures that, to most people, are just plain common sense. Other workers feel they've learned how to perform more safely by noticing and altering work habits.

Employees also take a financial hit after a work injury. Workers' comp benefits may not cover the bills. An attorney can help determine whether additional compensation is available.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, " Safety Cops Patrol the Office For High Heels" Rachel Feintzeig and Alexandra Berzon, Jul. 27, 2014

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