No one just wakes up a millionaire or billionaire – sadly. Most of us have to work for our income and work hard to climb the ladder. It is part of life and teaches us many lessons, skills and helps us reach life goals. Each job is different and consists of different situations. For example, some have hands-on jobs, and several have office desk jobs.
Many believe a physical job must be more exhausting than a desk job. This fact is false; they are both equally exhausting depending on the work and hours. The mental strain that follows a desk job is as exhausting as the physical strain of a hands-on job.
Office/ desk employees are also prone to injuries due to the job and office environment. The injuries can seriously harm the employee’s health and future.
Especially in Asian work culture, many employees overwork themselves and put their job before their health, leading to even more injuries and health matters. If an employee is injured, they must get medical attention as soon as possible – no matter how important their tasks are.
There are many types of injuries an office or desk-based employee can suffer from due to their work and long hours. The article will explain common workplace injuries in Hong Kong and how employers can help with employee compensation insurance.
What is Employee Compensation Insurance?
The employer’s legal duty is to purchase employee compensation as soon as they hire even one employee. The insurance is to cover employees against common workplace injuries financially.
Employee compensation insurance covers the employer’s liability if one of the employees gets injured, contracts a disease, or dies during or on the way to work. The insurance will provide the cost of medical bills, compensation and salary while recovering.
Mandatory employee compensation insurance in Hong Kong is taken very seriously by the government. Any employer who breaches the Ordinance law is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for two years.
The Common Workplace Injuries
Repetitive Strain & Muscle Strains Injuries
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a medical term for pain caused by repeated movement of part of the body. A common workplace injury caused in offices due to poor posture, computer use, and writing, which over time cause small muscle tears. These factors can also cause severe muscle strains, especially on your back and neck.
These injuries are caused due to long hours in one position and, importantly, in the wrong position. These injuries at first may seem easy to cure by popping in a pain killer, but over time may need serious medical attention.
It’s better to avoid these injuries before it is too late. You can prevent these injuries by taking breaks to walk around every 30-40 minutes. Even if it is a short walk to the water station or to get your favourite snack, it can help. It is vital to stretch the body and release strain. You can also research how to sit and look at ergonomic products that support your body. Finally, don’t be afraid just to get up and walk; your boss has not glued you to that chair.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Another common workplace injury that could happen to anyone working on computers is carpal tunnel syndrome. CTS is pressure on a nerve in your wrist. Symptoms of this injury are tingling, numbness, and pain in your hand and fingers. The cause of this injury is the amount of typing and the position of your hands on the computer.
Recent research has calculated you may be more prone to the syndrome if you are typing more than 28 hours per week. Unfortunately, typing more than 28 hours a week is common in Hong Kong, depending on the job. Thankfully if CTS is noticed earlier, there are medical treatments to cure and improve it. It can be fixed by physical therapy or, if very serious, surgery.
You can avoid carpal tunnel syndrome by taking frequent breaks, improving your posture, investing in ergonomic equipment, and gently hitting your keys. If you have even the slightest symptoms, you must show it to a professional before it is too late. Typing may be essential to your job, but your health is more important.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall injuries can happen anywhere, including the office. It can be as simple as an employee tripping over wires or slipping on a puddle of water. These accidents can lead to serious injuries that may need urgent medical attention. Painful slips and falls are common workplace injuries due to clusters and busy employees pacing.
Slip and fall injuries are still considered workplace injuries, even if they happen on the way to a meeting or staircase of the building. As long as the injury was during working hours or on the way to work- it is a work injury. However, if you slip at your home during work-from-home, it will not be counted as a work injury.
Unfortunately, such accidents are harder to avoid as they are so sudden. Employers can try to declutter offices and ensure paths are clear of wires or obstacles. Sometimes employees are so focused on the paper in their hands they forget to look down.
We all use computers or phones to work daily. Unfortunately, staring at a screen for hours is never great for your eyes and can lead to eye strain. Eye strain can lead to killer headaches and physical eye damage. Over time eye strain can seriously ruin your vision and overall health.
We have all faced eye strain at some point in our work careers. Some of you may feel it every day and ignore it cause “it’s nothing; I will rest after work”. When the damage becomes permanent, no matter how much you rest: it won’t reverse the damage. The strain can be caused by looking at a screen too long, poor lighting or improper size display (small letters).
Thankfully, you can avoid eye strain easily. Firstly, take a break and wash your eyes if you feel discomfort. Then, use proper lighting on your desk and install good eye protection software on your devices. Also, make frequent eye check-ups to be safe- you may need glasses and may not even know it. Finally, make sure you take an eye break after this article!
Will Employee Compensation Cover These Common Workplace Injuries?
Due to its critical coverage, employee compensation (EC) insurance is mandatory in Hong Kong. The insurance helps the employer with financial reimbursement to cover their employee’s medical bills, compensation, and salary. In addition, the cover allows employers to fulfil their duty to employees in the best way possible.
However, for employee compensation insurance to cover these common workplace injuries, it must be proven the injury was due to work (excluding work-from-home). Therefore, if an employee injures their back due to strain, it may not be covered – as it can’t be proven it was just work that led to the injury. Hence employers should also provide medical insurance to their employees.
Additionally, it is essential to understand the process of EC insurance from the day of injury to the day of reimbursement. You can learn the detailed process and steps in our employee compensation article.
These common workplace injuries can be costly to a business and its employees. So, it is important for employers to provide the proper care through employee compensation or medical insurance.