Keeping Workplace Injuries at Bay: Ergonomic Tips to Prevent Them Before They Happen

Keeping Workplace Injuries at Bay: Ergonomic Tips to Prevent Them Before They Happen

Workplace injuries can have a considerable effect, not only in terms of suffering, but also in lost productivity, increased health care costs, and even loss of quality talent needed to fill gaps in an over tasked team. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the leading injuries according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

However, a majority of such injuries can be avoided with proper ergonomics. Here we’ll  discuss crucial work-related ergonomic advice for office employees, remote workers, and heavy manual lifter workers to avoid accidents even before they happen.

Ergonomics Explained

Ergonomics focuses on the design of the work place to coincide with the abilities and restrictions of the employee. The most notable benefit of an ergonomically designed work environment is preventing injuries by minimizing strain, fatigue and discomfort. Some of the most common work-related problems that can be prevented with the help of ergonomics are carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, and neck strain.

Proper Desk Setup – Ergonomic Tips for Office Workers

An ergonomically designed desk setup is an essential step in avoiding injuries for office workers. Begin with a decent chair with lumbar support and an adjustable height. The chair should maintain the natural curve of your spine to prevent back pain. 

Your desk height will allow your arms to be parallel to the floor when typing and reduce any strain on your shoulders and wrists. Your monitor should be at eye level and at an arms reach to prevent neck and eye strain.

Standing Posture

Place the keyboard and mouse such that you can use it without reaching and stretching your arms and shoulders. Using accessories like keyboard trays and wrist supports to ensure a neutral wrist position may help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Posture & Breaks

Sit with your feet flat on the floor and back supported. Additionally refrain from slouching/leaning forward. Take regular breaks; every 30 minutes get up, stretch, and walk around to help avoid MSDs.

Home Work Ergonomic Office for Remote Workers

Remote work is not always easy but it need not be all doom and gloom, as long as you get the right tools for the job. Invest in appropriate home office furniture that follows ergonomic principles. If you cannot afford ergonomic furniture, try using pillows for lumbar support or stack books under your monitor to bring it up to your eye line.

Work Environment

To avoid eye strain, make sure your home office is well-lit by either natural light or a strong artificial light. The higher the quality of the lamp in your room the better, preferably placed near a large window so you can use natural light. Sometimes concentrating at home can be difficult because of all of the noise, then you can either use noise canceling headphones, or try to setup your working place in the quietest part of your home to focus more and stress out less.

Ergonomic Tips for Manual Labor Workers

Lifting Techniques

Manual labor workers carry a risk of back injury from improper lifting techniques. Use your legs, not your back when lifting; bend your knees and keep load close to you. While lifting, do not twist your torso. When possible, implement mechanical aids, such as dollies or forklifts, to limit conforming to constrained spaces and potential carrying tension.

Use hand tools which are ergonomically designed so as to comfortably fit in your hand and would not need too much force to operate.

Tools that are well looked after are also safer and work more efficiently, so you are less likely to need legal help for personal injury.

Frequent Work Habits

Avoid overuse syndromes by changing tasks throughout the day. Rest weary muscles with regular breaks and a good stretch, as tired muscles can become inflamed and are more likely to strain.

Employer Policies and Training

Companies should invest in ergonomic training programs to inform employees about the importance of ergonomics and the correct ways to perform tasks. Regular training is essential to ensure all employees are up-to-date on current ergonomics techniques. Effective training programs include demonstrations, practical applications and regular updates.

Perform regular workplace ergonomic analyses to find and eliminate potential ergonomic issues. In addition, employees should be able to give feedback on their workspaces and report any pain or discomfort.

By adopting ergonomic strategies in the workplace, work-associated injuries can be minimized, thus resulting in a healthier, more productive work atmosphere. Start assessing your workspace today and adapt it to become a healthier and more sustainable environment. Small alterations of your work environment matter and can ultimately have huge impacts on your health.