For most cubicle denizens, the biggest danger they face on any given day might be a paper cut or tired eyes from a day spent staring at a computer screen.
Sure, over time they might be at greater risk for repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, but let’s face it: office jobs aren’t known for being risky.
Still, there are plenty of things that can go wrong in a day at the office — from slipping on spilled coffee in the break room to a back injury from picking up a box of copy paper.
And beyond those mundane workplace mishaps, there are plenty of other things that can go terribly wrong – everything from malfunctioning equipment to disgruntled employees.
We rounded up seven freak accidents and unusual problems that a meek cube dweller could face.
1. Deadly elevator: A New York City ad executive was crushed to death when the elevator she was attempting to board dragged her up after her foot got stuck in the gap between the elevator car and the lobby floor, according to an Associated Press article. A safety mechanism on elevators is supposed to prevent the car from moving when the doors are open. Investigators from the city’s Department of Buildings are trying to determine the reason for the malfunction. Two other people on board the elevator at the time of the accident were treated for psychological trauma, according to the article.
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2. Electric desk: An elementary school gym teacher was hospitalized after being struck by lightening while sitting at his desk inside a Northport, Ala. school, according to the Associated Press. The teacher was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a nearby hospital.
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3. Noxious perfume:
At a Texas bank call center nearly 150 people were treated for illness – including dizziness and shortness of breath – after an employee sprayed perfume. Of those treated, 34 were hospitalized. According to an Associated Press article, officials initially thought the sickness was caused by carbon monoxide or some other toxic fume.
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4. Office fisticuffs: A features editor at the Washington Post reportedly punched out a writer during a dispute over a story, according to DailyFinance.com. Veteran editor Henry Allen was venting to a pair of reporters about a semi-political story he’d assigned to a writer, and the “total crap” that was submitted to him. One of the reporters then told Allen to “not be such an [expletive],” which caused the 68-year-old to start throwing punches. Allen, who was just weeks from retirement, was banned from the newsroom.
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5. Dangerous footwear: High heels are the culprit of so many workplace injuries that Great Britain’s Trade Union Congress proposed a ban on the shoes at work, according to an article in the Daily Telegraph. The motion, which was tabled, stated:
“Feet bear the brunt of daily life, and for many workers prolonged standing, badly fitted footwear, and in particular high heels can be a hazard. Around two million days a year are lost through sickness as a result of lower limb disorders. Wearing high heels can cause long-term foot problems, such as blisters, corns and calluses, and also serious foot, knee and back pain and damaged joints.”
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6. Head scratcher: Police officers are exposed to all kinds of risky situations, but most of those are when they’re out on patrol – not in the safety of their station. The officers and staff of the Gainsville Police Department were recently attacked by small, six-legged suspects: lice. According to TampaBay.com, the itch-inducing critters were found in the lobby of the administration building. Thankfully, it has since been fumigated.
7. Snakes on a desk: An angry snake charmer unleashed between 20-40 venomous cobras in an Indian tax office, according to a story on GlobalPost.com. The man was reportedly frustrated about delays and demands for bribes. Despite the fact that the snakes were starting to climb tables and chairs, no one was bitten.
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