Poor ergonomics can potentially contribute to injuries, a.k.a. musclo-skeletal disorders (MSD’s) including things like carpal tunnel, tendinitis, muscle strains and degenerative disc disease. More often however, poor ergonomics leads to micro-trauma, which is felt as muscular discomfort and/or muscular fatigue. Left unchecked, this micro-trauma can evolve over time to an actual injury. Whether micro-trauma or, an actual injury (macro-trauma), each can adversely impact work and personal productivity, and quality of life.
The goal of ergonomics and ergonomic interventions, therefore, is to reduce ergonomic risk factors thereby reducing the risk of fatigue, discomfort, and injuries at work to promote a safe and healthy quality of life at work and at home.
With the onset of COVID, the amount of remote / home office work performed has increased throughout the U.S. and the world, increasing the risk of poor ergonomics and the potential problems associated with it.
Some common office ergonomic hazards include:
- Poor / awkward seating position / postures (see diagrams above)
- Prolonged postures, typically seated
- Poor computer or monitor viewing position, and prolonged viewing
- Frequent and/or repetitive wrist and hand motions with keying and / or mouse use
Here are a few tips to help your comfort and avoid fatigue in the office, at home or, at the corporate office:
- IMPORTANT: Incorporate breaks to stand, move and stretch!!
- This is one of the most beneficial things that can be done for those that would otherwise work in predominantly sitting positions.
- Stand and move at least once per hour, for at least 30-60 seconds.
- Schedule work and strategically place peripherals so that prolonged seated postures can be interrupted periodically. Placing the printer away from your desk area so you must get up and walk is an example. Standing or walking around while taking phone calls is another suggestion.
- Refer to the “postural reversal” exercises page (link at the end of this article) for brief but effective exercises that can offset the effects of awkward and/or prolonged postures.
We hope this information has been helpful. Below are links to additional resources that you may find beneficial:
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact IPMG risk management.