Ergonomics: The Importance of Hazard Prevention
Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands between people and their environments and technological tools. Having effective “fits”, guarantee higher productivity, avoidance of illness and injury, and increased satisfaction among the workplace population.
Ergonomic risk factors are often found in jobs that require repetitive or prolonged exertions of the hands; frequent lifting of heavy objects, and prolonged awkward postures. Jobs containing these working conditions will have a higher probability of causing a musculoskeletal problem.
Here are some simple tips on posture and exercises to help you stay ergonomically healthy and reduce your chances of musculoskeletal problems in the future:
- For optimal workspace posture, your ears, shoulders, and hips should line up vertically. Additionally, you should observe the 90/90/90 Rule: Knees, elbows, and hips/legs bent at 90 degree angles. There should be adequate clearance between desk and thighs, so you are not sitting too high. Your monitor should be a proper viewing distance, about 18-40 inches and keep hips as far back in the chair as possible. Additionally, using ergonomic furniture will help optimize workspace posture.
- Having the correct hand posture will help minimize potential disorders such as carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel is the compression of the median nerve in the wrist caused by swelling or irritation of tendons and tendon sheaths. Hands should be at a neutral position, not having the wrist bent inside or outside. Here are some prevention exercises: First, extend and stretch wrists and fingers in a handstand position, holding for 5 seconds. Then, straighten wrists and relax fingers. Thirdly, bend wrists down, hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this process ten times, loosen, and shake arms.
- Many jobs that entail repetitive motions are at high risk of work related injuries. Taking breaks throughout the working period, forcing muscles to relax, and adjusting pace of work can help reduce chances.
Overall, ergonomics aims to put people first, taking into account their capabilities and limitations. It focuses on making equipment, tasks, information, and the environment suit each worker. Being aware of ergonomics may help reduce potential risk factors in your workplace and increase overall productivity.