Good ergonomics at work are important for any employee’s health and well-being. A healthy workplace not only ensures improved productivity but also promotes safety in the workplace. Unfortunately, poor ergonomics can lead to injuries, aches, and pains that can greatly affect work performance.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), poor ergonomic habits can include: remaining in awkward positions while working, such as bending or straining the neck and shoulders. Also, using equipment that needs to be adjusted appropriately to fit the person’s size or repeatedly lifting heavy objects without using proper techniques. It is important to have a height adjustable desk in the UK to ensure that the workstation is ergonomically suitable.
Here are a few other common work habits that can lead to discomfort and injury:
1. Not Taking Regular Breaks
Taking a break periodically throughout the day can help reduce tension and fatigue. It is important to take short rest periods, so muscles don’t become overworked and strained. Most people should take a break every 30 minutes to an hour. This will help reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Here are the things you can do during your break:
- walking around the office
- taking a short walk outside
2. Poor Posture
Maintaining a good posture is essential for avoiding back and neck pain, which can be exacerbated by hunching over or sitting in uncomfortable positions. Ensure chairs and desks are adjusted to fit your body correctly and monitors are placed at eye level. Using a laptop, use an external keyboard and mouse to prevent strain on your wrists and arms.
Aside from office furniture, also consider ergonomic accessories such as footrests and monitor risers. Some of the signs of poor posture include:
- rounded shoulders
- forward head and neck position
- sitting in a slouched position for long periods.
3. Improper Lifting Techniques
When moving or lifting heavy objects, use proper lifting techniques to reduce the risk of injury. Keep your back straight and bend your knees rather than bending over from the waist. This will help reduce the strain on your back and spine. In fact, it is always a good idea to get help with heavy lifting or ask for assistance if you feel uncomfortable.
Some tools that you can use to help make the job easier include:
- hand carts
- lifting straps or slings
- block and tackle
4. Ignoring Ergonomic Principles
Ignoring ergonomic principles can lead to serious health problems in the long run. Be sure to adjust your workstation and use appropriate tools whenever possible. Maintaining good posture, taking breaks, and using the right techniques for heavy lifting will help prevent injuries.
Employers should ensure their employees are paying attention to good ergonomic habits to avoid injury and discomfort while on the job. Setting up an ergonomically pleasing workspace can help reduce fatigue, improve productivity, and keep workers healthy over a long period.
Common Injuries from Poor Ergonomics
Poor ergonomic habits can lead to debilitating short and long-term injuries. According to OSHA, some of the most common injuries from poor ergonomics include:
It Can Cause Musculoskeletal Disorders
One common injury from poor ergonomics is musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and these disorders can cause pain and strain in the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Some MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and lower back pain.
Those people who are working as typists or assemblers have an increased risk of developing this type of injury. A wide variety of activities might lead to back issues, including raising something from below the knees or over the shoulder, as well as twisting the waist while doing so.
It Can Cause Eye Strain
Eye strain is another common injury from poor ergonomics. This can be caused by staring at a computer screen for long periods without taking breaks, using incorrect lighting, and not adjusting the monitor’s position. Eye strain can lead to headaches and blurry vision.
Proper ergonomic practices can help reduce the risk of this type of injury, such as using an anti-glare screen filter and ensuring that text on the screen is easily readable. Taking frequent breaks throughout the day can also help reduce eye strain.
It Can Cause Back Injuries
Back injuries are common in the workplace and can be caused by improper ergonomics. This includes sitting with a poor posture, lifting heavy objects incorrectly, or using tools that put too much strain on the back.
Sit upright with your hips against the back of your chair to avoid back issues. Avoid bending or twisting your back when lifting heavy objects, and never lift with your back. Make sure the tools you use are designed to minimize strain on the lower back.
It Can Cause Headaches & Migraines
Poor ergonomic practices can also cause headaches and migraines. This includes staying in the same position for too long, not taking regular breaks from the computer screen, or working in an environment with less noise or light. Proper ergonomics can help reduce the risk of headaches and migraines. This includes taking regular breaks, using the right tools, and ensuring your work environment is properly lit and ventilated.
It Can Cause Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries occur when a person performs the same motion repeatedly for an extended time. This can include typing at a computer, using tools that vibrate or cause jarring movements, or playing musical instruments.
Most employees who cannot take frequent breaks and are forced to perform the same motion repeatedly are at risk of developing a repetitive motion injury. To reduce the risk, make sure to stretch regularly, take regular breaks, and use tools that will help minimize any jarring motions or vibrations.
Good ergonomics are essential for any employee’s health and well-being. Poor ergonomic practices can lead to injury, aches, and pains that can greatly affect work performance. Employers should ensure their employees pay attention to good ergonomic habits to avoid discomfort while on the job and provide adequate resources to ensure their employees are comfortable and safe.
Good ergonomics can help improve productivity and morale and reduce workplace injuries due to poor habits when appropriately implemented.
By following these simple steps and taking notice of any discomfort felt while working, employees will be able to create a healthier workplace environment and reduce their risk for injury. Furthermore, employers should provide adequate training and resources to ensure their employees are comfortable and safe while on the job.