Workplace Ergonomics: Is it Worth the Investment?

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Is investing in Ergonomic Solutions worth the cost? Absolutely!

Ergonomic education and training is good for you, your business and your employees. Musculoskeletal Disorder injuries produce 33% of Lost Time Claims in the US according to the Applied Ergonomics Conference, Dallas TX.

Poor ergonomics in the workplace can cause the employee to feel fatigued, stressed, have increased headaches, eye strain, back or neck pain, and be at risk for work related injuries.

Business owners and managers need to consider several facts when making the decision to invest in ergonomic training and solutions.

1) Ergonomics will reduce cost by cutting down on work place injuries, employee time loss and increased insurance rates.

2) Ergonomics will improve employee’s productivity, moral, efficiency and job quality. While decreasing job turnover, and absenteeism.

3) Ergonomic training communicates to your employees your commitment to their safety, health and wellbeing.

4) Ergonomic Solutions will increase revenues, decrease costs and is an investment in your company’s present and future.

Because applied Ergonomics is working smarter not harder, by designing the task to the worker and not forcing the worker to fit the task, you can expect great results by investing in, and implementing Ergonomic Solutions.

According to the same Applied Ergonomics Conference mentioned above, studies showed that the Success of Implementing Ergonomics will:

1) Decrease injury rate 61%

2) Decrease Severity (cost) 30%

Workplace Ergonomics: Is it Worth the Investment? Absolutely!

Sitting the New Smoking?

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Did you know that a Sedentary Lifestyle is Dangerous for Your Health?

Dr. Max Gomez of CBS News states that new research equates a sedentary lifestyle to having the same negative effect on our bodies as smoking. And it’s not just sitting around at home. It is also our sit-for-hours workdays, or jobs that require driving and sitting in the car for long periods of time that are part of an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle.

People who get regular physical activity have a more efficient immune system, which helps to ward off various disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and illnesses such as a cold or flu.

Lack of physical activity increases the loss of lean muscle tissue, making activities of daily living much more difficult to perform. Weakening of muscle strength and muscle fatigue is also a risk factor for job related injuries.

While not an equal substitute for exercise, some doctors recommend getting up once an hour from your desk, even if it’s just to walk around briefly or go to the bathroom. Some people have even started using combination treadmill desks at work — anything that contracts our muscles and gets blood flowing. Our bodies were designed for motion, regular movement will increase blood flow, brain function, strengthen our muscles and increase productivity.

The good news, says Dr. Dermont Phelan, of the Cleveland Clinic, is that it doesn’t mean that we have to go to the gym for 30 minutes in the middle of the day. Just a brisk walk, and we don’t have to do it continuously. Even doing 10 minutes several times a day will work.

So get up, get moving and enjoy a healthier lifestyle and better job performance!

 

Office Ergonomics – A Few Solutions for Better Job Performance

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You don’t necessarily need to purchase expensive office equipment or furniture to ensure good ergonomics. The key is to situate yourself in a natural postural position. Get up and move around throughout the day, and pay attention to your body mechanics while working. Just a few changes can have a positive effect on your mind, body and job performance.

Symptoms of poor ergonomics can include; excessive fatigue, eye strain headaches, stress, neck, back, arm, and shoulder pain.

Posture Concerns: Slouching and leaning forward take you out of your body’s natural postural angle. This can cause fatigue, strain and pain to your neck, back and shoulders.

Posture Solutions:

  1. Purchase a back support pillow to help you sit in a more natural postural position.
  2. Make sure your feet rest flat on the floor, as this aids in good posture.
  3. If you find yourself leaning forward, move your monitor closer to you or enlarge the print on your screen and adjust your monitor so that the top is no higher than eye level.
  4. Keep the weight of your head positioned over your neck.
  5. Make sure you pull your chair in every time you sit down.

Keyboard/Mouse Concerns: Arm and shoulder strain and pain, drooping or elevated shoulders, reaching or extending your arms or hands for the keyboard or mouse. These are all evidence of poor ergonomics and equipment placement.

Keyboard/Mouse Solutions:

  1. Ensure that the weight of your arms are always supported. This will help to relax the muscles of your neck and shoulders.
  2. Keep your arms close to your body while using the keyboard and mouse, and place your arms at a 90 degree angle.

There are many other factors related to good office ergonomics and job performance. Ergonomic Assessments are an affordable way to find out if your workstation and work environment is setting you up for good ergonomics, and better job performance.

What is “Repetitive Strain Injury” and Why Should I be Concerned?

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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a term used to refer to a range of disorders of the neck, shoulder, arm wrist, hand and back. RSI, also known as musculoskeletal disorders, can affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, soft tissue, joints and the nervous system.

RSI can be caused by using excessive force (pushing, pulling or supporting), making repetitive movements, adopting an awkward or static posture and by spending excessive time on an activity, as well as poor work design.

The lack of proper breaks and poor posture increase the static loading on a large number of muscles throughout your body. Over time these muscles tend to become shorter and denser, impeding blood circulation in the arms, neck, shoulders and back.

Poor posture is a constant source of chronic stress and RSI. Such postures disrupt the usual muscular balance of your body. After some time, your body begins to compensate for this imbalance by contracting nearby muscles for additional support, tightening the connective tissues to further support the imbalance, which inhibit the movement of surrounding nerves and blood vessels.

By correcting the ergonomics and poor posture, taking appropriate breaks, performing correct stretches, changing equipment placement and exercise is imperative in preventing and the recovery for RSI.

Treatments of RSI may include Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Occupational Therapy.

You can take a proactive approach to reduce the risk of RSI in your work environment. Why not begin today?

Puzzled by the term “Ergonomics”?

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Let’s begin with the word itself. Ergonomics, comes from two Greek words: Ergon meaning work, and Nomos meaning laws. Ergonomics is a way to work smarter not harder by designing equipment, work stations and tasks to fit the worker NOT forcing the worker to fit the task.

Contrary to what some may think, applied ergonomics is not buying the most expensive equipment and it is not one size fits all. Ergonomics looks at what kind of work you do, what tools you use and your whole work environment. The aim is to find the best fit between you and your job conditions.

Buying an expensive office chair may not need to be the solution to ensure proper ergonomics at the office. Changes to the office work station might include:

Making sure that the monitor is at eye level and centered in front of you

Armrests should be level with the desk and support the elbows

Being sure the height of your chair allows your feet to rest flat on the floor

Adding a seat wedge to your chair to help your body rest in a natural angle

Ergonomic assessments provide evaluations, service and advice that will help to identify the significant risks factors in the workplace. By implementing ergonomic solutions you or your employees will reduce the risk of on the job injury, improve efficiency and job quality while feeling less stressed and fatigued.

The question: Who should be seeking out ergonomic options and solutions?

The answer: Everyone who is concerned about how they or their employees perform and feel.

Teri McGee, CEAS