Ergonomics is sometimes overlooked when you think of hazards in the workplace. That’s because injuries caused by poor ergonomics are not as obvious as injuries from slips, falls or dangerous chemicals. But ergonomic injuries can be just as detrimental in the workplace if the hazards that cause them are left unchecked.
Practicing good ergonomics in the workplace helps reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, strained muscles, and ruptured discs. MSDs resulting from poorly designed workstations can lead to reduced productivity, missed time, loss of income, and pain and suffering that impacts worker their families.
Here are six tips to help you improve workplace ergonomics and avoid MSDs:
1. Practice Good Posture
- Keep your back straight by:
- Avoiding rounding your shoulders forward. To do this, make sure your screen is at your eye level.
- Avoiding rounding (or arching) your lower back.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and back.
- Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle (never less than that).
- Keep your knees at the same height as your hips.
Leave your legs relaxed, bent at about a 90-degree angle. Rest your feet on the ground and do not cross your legs, which tends to make one leg work more than the other and can lead to muscular imbalances in the pelvis. Crossing your legs also increases the risk of back problems because your spine is no longer properly aligned.
2. Change Up Your Routine
Repeating the same movements throughout the day can tense or strain muscles. Alternate your tasks if it’s possible. Be sure to incorporate several rest breaks. Stretch during your breaks or do simple exercises to keep your muscles and tendons from becoming tense.
3. Get a Good Chair
If you sit at desk all or most of the day, you need an ergonomic chair that has various settings for a variety of seated postures. The best chairs have adjustable height, arm rest, lumbar support, and seat depth settings. If your feet don’t reach the floor, a footrest should be used. Remember, it doesn’t matter how well the chair is adjusted if you do not sit in it properly.
4. Make your Computer Work for You
Your computer station shouldn’t be the enemy. Your keyboard and mouse should be at the same level, with the weight of your arms supported by the armrests of the chair. The keyboard and mouse should also be positioned so that your wrists remain straight. If you need to look at documents as you type, make sure that you have a document holder. All your other tools, such as staplers, pens or pencils, and your phone, should be within reach. If you use the phone frequently, opt for a headset rather than cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder.
5. Protect Your Eyes
Eye strain is common if you spend a lot of your workday looking at computer monitors. Adjust your monitor so that it is at eye level when you’re sitting correctly in your chair. Ensure that you look at it directly, and that the screen isn’t angled. If you have a window, place the monitor at a right angle to it to reduce glare. Monitors with poor resolution or a flicker should be upgraded or replaced.
6. Lift with your Knees
If your job involves lifting, make sure you’ve been trained in how to manually move material. Practice the proper lifting techniques. Never lift with the muscles in your back. Lift with your knees.
Keith Clinic can help
Our chiropractors are here to help keep you and family as healthy and pain-free as possible! Schedule a visit today at a Keith Clinic Estramonte Chiropractic location near you.