Ergonomics is the study of how efficient one is in their work environment. Did you know that one’s work environment can have a direct correlation to strain injuries, lower back pain, and even headaches? Sprains and strains account for 43% of the 1.3 million injuries, which totals to a staggering 559,000 injuries that occur in privately-owned organizations.
What can I be on the lookout for, to help myself and others avoid these types of injuries, at work?
The first thing to do is to assess if one stays in the same position, at work, for a long period of time. A common example is sitting with little to no movement throughout the workday. The human body is meant for movement, so taking a quick stretching or movement break every hour will help combat the potential for future injuries. If your schedule doesn’t allow for breaks every hour, you can take a quick lap around the office at lunch, make a conscious effort to take the “long” way to the cafeteria or mix in some standing into your daily work routine. These simple changes can make a positive impact!
When you are sitting, here are some tips to help keep you the most ergonomically correct:
• Have your feet rest flat on the floor.
• Do not cross your legs.
• There should be a small gap between your knees and your knees should be at or lower than the level of your hips.
• Make sure your backrest can be adjustable to support your mid and lower back.
• Allow for your forearms to be parallel to the ground by adjusting your armrest.
When you decide to make that change from sitting to standing here are some tips for standing:
• Have one foot higher than the other (use a footstool).
• Make sure you have comfortable footwear on.
• Stand on stable shock-absorbing surfaces.
• Bend your knees slightly to take some of the stress off the knee.
• Make sure your desk height is appropriate to avoid slouching.