Office Ergonomics: Tips for Preventing Pains and Strains
(ARA) – Is your job causing you pain? Maybe it’s not the work itself but your office environment. While you’re hard at work burning the midnight oil, poor daily habits may be taking a serious toll on your well-being.
Workplace injuries, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are often painful reminders of the effect that hours of poor posture and awkward motion can have on the body.
In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 357,160 cases of work-related musculoskeletal disorders that resulted in lost workdays. In addition, the Journal of American Medical Association found that costs associated with common pain conditions and lost productivity in the U.S. are estimated at $61.2 billion per year.
While office injuries have become more common, many can be minimized or prevented entirely through the principles of ergonomics, or the science of designing work environments to better fit the capabilities of the individuals using them. Practicing proper ergonomic principles at work helps ensure comfort, increase productivity and reduce health issues, such as stress injuries, back, neck and shoulder strain and muscular pains.
“Employees are spending more time behind a desk and in front of a computer screen, making office aches and pains more common," says Kevin Butler, board-certified ergonomist and consultant for Fellowes, Inc. "Poor habits such as slouching, reaching across your desk or bending your wrists up when you type can unknowingly cause stress on the body and lead to more serious medical conditions.”
Butler recommends incorporating the following techniques at work to ensure desk dwellers stay comfortable and healthy from head to toe:
Eyes – Sit approximately an arm’s length away from your monitor and position the top of the monitor screen at, or slightly below, eye level. Take mini breaks every 10 to 20 minutes to rest the eyes from the glare of the monitor.
Shoulders – Keep your shoulders relaxed and in a neutral position as you type. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you use the keyboard and mouse. Take a moment every so often to roll your shoulders up and back to alleviate tension.
Hands and Wrists – Keep your wrists straight and in a neutral position. Keep the bottom of your elbows even with the keyboard height, not below. Use minimum force while striking the keys and utilize your chair arms for support.
Back and Legs – Adjust your chair so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit back in the seat so that your lower back is supported firmly by the chair or a support cushion. Place your feet on a footrest to relieve “pull” on the lower back. Make sure to get up and stretch your back and legs every hour.
In addition to these recommended techniques, employees should ensure they have the right office equipment incorporated into their workspace, such as Fellowes new Professional Series Ergonomic product line, which is designed to maximize comfort and increase productivity on the job. The line offers a variety of solutions including a Gliding Palm Support that relieves wrist pressure to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and the Executive Adjustable Keyboard Tray to promote neutral hand/wrist position.
For more information on the principles of ergonomics and assessing your workspace, visit www.fellowes.com/ergonomics.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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