Ergonomics is essential in preventing musculoskeletal injuries. We should pay attention to ergonomics in everything we do, not just when working in an office or sitting. Proper ergonomics improves efficiency, comfort, and safety. Here are a few ergonomic essentials to help prevent injury in everyday activities, from sitting down to watch TV to working in a factory.
Actions leading to ergonomic injuries include repetitive or prolonged movement, frequent or heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, and maintaining awkward postures for extended periods of time. Even minor, repeated damage over time can be dangerous. No matter what your job has you doing, there are actions you can take to prevent injury. Try changing your working position throughout the day instead of staying in one position. Every now and then, stand up and walk around. Stretch regularly. Stretching should include your fingers, hands, arms, and torso.
Back problems are a common workplace injury and can tremendously affect quality of life. Symptoms of back injury include pain, numbness, stiffness, weakness, and muscle spasms. Controls can be put in place to prevent these injuries. Use mechanical lifting aids instead of lifting heavy objects yourself. Use adjustable workstations or store materials within easy reach. Work together for lifts too heavy for one person.
Many companies consider ergonomics when setting up workstations. Ergonomic chairs, mats, and tools can be used to keep employees comfortable and safe. Some companies go as far as conducting regular risk assessments to ensure employees are given what they need to work ergonomically. Ask your employer what they offer in terms of ergonomics.
Staying in good shape can also help prevent back injury. Move and stretch regularly and avoid using extreme force while you work. Pushing instead of pulling allows you to use your whole body versus straining yourself.
Always use proper lifting techniques. As we get older, just a slight wrong movement can cause a lot of pain. Use the large muscles of your legs when lifting instead of your back. Avoid twisting as you lift. Keep the item being lifted between your waist and shoulders. Never lift anything heavier than you can safely handle.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you to work and live without pain and to stay healthy.