Weird Workplace Accidents

Weird Workplace Accidents

Ever thought about safety in the office? We’ve found a few examples of the unusual dangers that lurk round the corner. Put it down to acts of God, inventiveness or ineptitude, but these kinds of ‘accidents’ have been happening down the years…

Get indoors! No, no, get outdoors!

We might envy teachers their long holidays, but I doubt any of us would want to swap with Robert Jones, a coach (aka PE teacher) at Walker Elementary school in Northport, Alabama.

Jones was sitting inside his office at 7.15 one morning when he was struck by lightning.  Yes, I say that again: he was struck by lightning indoors.  Somehow the bolt had hit the building and worked its way to the unsuspecting teacher.   Shocking. (Sorry.)

Do Hobbitses get paper cuts?

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is a New Zealand body that runs the country’s no-fault accidental injury scheme.  In 2013 the ACC received more than 8,000 claims related to office injuries.  There were 43 for paper cut incidents, including someone who got one to their eye.  Are you wincing?  I’m wincing.

Thankfully most paper cuts happen to our fingers – and the ACC didn’t have any claims stating a grumpy co-worker jumped on a colleague’s back and bit his ring-finger off.

*If you don’t get this reference, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed in NZ.

Leaves on the line?  No, it’s cement this time.

In 2014 Londoners heard a truly bizarre excuse for their delayed tube trains: a signal room on the Victoria Line was flooded with cement.   Vital equipment was covered with up to one foot of cement, after it leaked from work being done on an escalator tunnel.  Thankfully, quick-thinking staff went and bought bags of sugar to chuck on the ‘crete, since sugar stops it setting. Science!

Which was it, sir, a parrot or a monkey?

Staying on the transport theme, Aviva has a fantastic list of old workplace insurance claims dating back to the 19th century.   Two that come to mind are from the railway passenger category.

Amusingly, one is a law stationer – a person who sold stationery for lawyers – who claimed £43-6s in 1878 after being bitten by a parrot. And in 1885, an Inspector in Oundle claimed £21 after being chomped by a monkey.  But can anything beat the solicitor that slipped on a turnip?  He wanted £20 in 1894.  That’s more than £2,000 in modern day money.

(If you’ve been assaulted by a turnip and have two grand to spare, you could buy almost 2,400kg of its relatives to eat in revenge.  That’s according to the government’s fruit and vegetable wholesale price list.  Yes, that’s a real thing.)

 Game of Thrones?

Even our very own Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which sets standards for workplace safety, isn’t immune from accidents.  A 2011 Daily Mail story reported that the HSE suffered 53 accidents in the year across its offices.

These included a chap who was hit by a falling toilet roll holder, another who got a groin strain by tripping on a ‘wet floor’ sign (yes, the sign and not the floor) and, most peculiar of all, a man in Glasgow who had a balloon burst in his face.   Was he blowing it up, or did it float across the room and attack him incredibly slowly?  There’s a reason we should be afraid of them; if you ever see a clown making a balloon animal, run.






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Previously on The Euroffice Blog…

Don’t Be Stationery, this summer


Pre-Flight Check List


Top 10 Office Chairs



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