A safe and healthy environment contributes to workplace productivity. I want to remind my employees to keep an eye on ergonomics — it’s important! You should try to create a safe working environment. After all, poor ergonomic practices can cause businesses to suffer from lost productivity and, in extreme cases, physical injuries.
However, regardless of how well a company designs its workspace, all employees should ensure that their workstations are ergonomically correct. Buying the most expensive chairs, desks, and fixtures means nothing unless your employees sit awkwardly upright at their desks.
October just so happens to be National Ergonomics Month. Discuss how to make your workplace healthy, productive and ergonomic.
History of Ergonomics Month
The history of ergonomics dates back to ancient Greece. Specifically, Hippocrates, considered the “father of medicine,” detailed how a surgeon’s workstation and tools should be arranged. However, it was in 1857 that Professor Wojciech Jastrzebowski of Poland first used “ergonomics” as a specific word. Ergonomics In 1949, at the first meeting of his society, British psychologist Hywell Murrell officially coined the term “ergonomics”.
It dates back to 2003. 2003 was the year Human Factors and the Ergonomics Society declared his October National Ergonomics Month. Information and services related to human factors and ergonomics are provided through grassroots and community-based activities in universities, high schools, and companies. In addition to providing education, networking and resources to clients and the public, safety professionals and ergonomics professionals can advance science, applications and professions in many ways.
The Importance of Ergonomics
The importance of ergonomics in health cannot be overemphasized. Awkward postures, temperature extremes, or repetitive movements cause stress when the body functions ergonomically unnaturally. The result is discomfort, fatigue and pain, which over time can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
In addition, happier and healthier employees are more productive as their morale increases. As an added benefit, this also helps retain employees. Low turnover also reduces the need to recruit and train successors, saving resources that would otherwise be wasted.
Ergonomics uses several methods to address these issues. As an example, less bending is required by adjusting the height of the surface. Also, users should replace the phone handset with a headset to reduce neck strain. Also, sitting for long periods of time in uncomfortable postures, such as bending your wrists while typing, won’t cause muscle strain if your computer and his workstation are set up properly.
There are more ways to implement ergonomics than spaces to list. But they all try to prevent the burden on the person doing the work, so the body can work at maximum efficiency and use its potential longer.
How to improve workplace ergonomics
1. Maintain correct posture while working.
Good working posture at workstations is a top ergonomic priority, no matter where your employees are working. In order to perform the task, you should maintain a neutral body position in a relaxed posture and not reach out at excessive or stressful angles.
Ideally, office workers should sit with their hands, wrists, and forearms straight, parallel, and aligned. As a rule, the head should be horizontal and facing forward without turning left or right.
Standing may also be ergonomically sound if employees stand upright at their workstations and their arms and wrists remain neutral. In fact, standing can help you balance when sitting for long periods of time.
Repeating the same movements continuously all day can make you feel tense. Therefore, it is recommended to alternate tasks whenever possible. If job rotation or alternating tasks is not possible during the shift, we recommend incorporating some breaks into the shift.
During breaks, do some stretching or light exercise to prevent muscle strain and tension.
3. Improve your computer workstation.
“Another important consideration is the ergonomics of your workspace: how efficiently and safely you can work at your desk or computer,” writes Melanie Pinola of Zapier. “It’s about creating the right environment to stay healthy and avoid problems like repetitive strain injury (RSI), back pain, and even fatigue.”
This can be achieved by having the desk at the proper height. “Ideally, your desk should allow you to type on the keyboard with your arms and hands nearly parallel to the floor. You’ll want to comfortably cross your legs underwater,” Pinola wrote.
Alternatively, you can visit Ergotron’s Workspace Planner. Enter your height to determine the best dimensions for your desk.
Besides adjusting the height of your desk, you should also consider:
- “Keep your monitor or laptop screen forward in the range of 20 to 40 inches.” Pinola also recommends that “the top line of the screen be at or below eye level.”
- Use a keyboard and mouse that are “close enough to your body that you can comfortably hold your elbows by your sides without straining your shoulders.” For even more comfort, try using your keyboard with his stand or tray.
4. Select the appropriate equipment.
After assessing your or your employee’s needs, we will install and provide appropriate safety equipment that promotes safe posture, makes it easier to lift heavy objects, and prevents common musculoskeletal injuries.
Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- If you will be standing for a long time, please use a cushioned floor mat.
- ergonomically designed chair
- Carts or machines are available for moving heavy or cumbersome items
- Items that reduce pressure when kneeling, such as knee pads
5. Always lift with your knees.
If your job involves lifting, make sure you have proper lifting techniques and are trained in manual material handling. Lifting with your back muscles is never a good idea. Instead, you should lift with your knees.
6. Give your eyes a rest.
Looking at a computer screen for a long time can cause eye fatigue. To reduce eye strain, the worker should look at something more than 20 feet away from him every 10 to 20 minutes.
You can do anything from a clock on the wall to a tree outside your window. Switching to a distant object adjusts the eye and relaxes the muscles for close-up focus.
When you’re in a stressful work environment, your muscles often get tense for a long time. People under pressure to complete tasks faster may skip breaks or strain to use proper ergonomic material handling techniques in order to complete tasks on time. You must to do something before you go on.
If you’re a leader, make sure your employees aren’t overstressed. To reduce the amount of stress from ergonomic injuries, it is important to provide individuals with information, training, and control over how their workstations are ergonomically configured.
If you’re not in a leadership position, find ways to de-stress. For example, here are 18 exercises you can do at your desk.
8. Adjust your remote workspace.
“Many of us work remotely and may not have access to a lot of office equipment,” says Cindy Zielinski, MS, OTRL, occupational therapy supervisor and leader of the MHealthy Ergonomics Awareness Program. say. “But we have a lot of things in our home that help us coordinate our workspace.”
- If the armrests are too wide, add pillows or blankets to the armrests for extra cushion and better back support.
- A rolled up towel can help support your lower back.
- A box, book, or storage tote can be used as a footrest or as a monitor or laptop stand.
- You can stand or sit on the ironing board, which can be adjusted to your ideal height.
- If your laptop screen is too small, you will need a TV or external monitor.
“And no matter where you work, remember to keep moving,” adds Zielinski. “Try to do some exercise (stand up, stretch, walk for 2-3 minutes, etc.) every 30-60 minutes. Setting an alarm or timer is a good way to remind yourself.”
Remember that if you take care of yourself and your ergonomic needs first, you will be more productive.
Image Credit: Standsome Work Lifestyle. pexel; thank you!
The post “October is Ergonomics Month” appeared first on the calendar.