Importance of Workplace Ergonomics
What is Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging the work environment or workplace in accordance with the capabilities and limitations of the worker. Setting up a sound ergonomic workstation is incredibly important to your wellbeing and health.
Ergonomics is a vital factor in maintaining one’s physical wellness. With a sound ergonomic workstation, you can prevent injuries that can lead to long-term disability. Some of the common injuries associated with poor ergonomics are back and neck problems, shoulder and wrist pain, headache and many more. Common injuries that can occur at work due to improper ergonomics which you need to give proper attention include the following:
Common Work Place Injuries
Workplace injuries have now become common and occur in almost all occupational sectors. People working in different sectors encounter with different types of injuries. For example, if your job demands long hours of standing then there are chances that it might lead to strain, wear, and tear of your muscles or tendons. Similarly, if your job requires continuous hours of sitting, it can result in muscle and joint pain, overuse injuries of the shoulder, wrist, and eyestrain. Some of the common workplace injuries in Wall Street, Astoria, and Upper East Side, NYC that we encounter the most are given in detail below.
Most of the injuries at workplace are the result of poor ergonomics. The root cause of the pain you are suffering right now might be due to improper ergonomics. Not only does poor ergonomics lead to injuries but it can also result in long-term injuries. Here are a few big problems that poor ergonomics can cause.
- Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
Musculoskeletal Disorders are painful conditions that affect muscles, tendons, and nerves. Some common MSDs that arise due to incorrect postures are tendonitis and bursitis and they occur mostly in the knee, elbow and shoulder region.
- Back Injuries
Sitting or standing for long periods can cause back injuries. If your work involves long hours of sitting or standing, then you must make sure that your desk or your work area is built to ergonomic standards.
- Neck Injuries
Sitting at work all day and prolonged poor positioning will end up in neck pain. Maintaining the same posture for several hours while you are busy at work can make your neck stiff and can also result in headache.
- Trigger Finger
This condition is an overuse injury that results from the inflammation of the tendons located in the fingers. You may experience symptoms like locking of the fingers or occasional jerking of the fingers without pain.
Factors that lead to Injuries
Most people don’t realize that poorly designed workplace stations and posture can lead to serious health problems. Here are some of the several factors that can lead to injuries while you are at your workplace and that can have an impact on your health.
- Poor Posture
If your job demands continuous sitting or standing for a long period of time, then maintain correct posture as it is one of the main cause of injuries.
- Unsupportive Footwear
For anyone whose job demands long hours of standing, make sure you wear appropriate footwear that give proper foot and back support to avoid lower back pain.
- Working Without Taking Proper Breaks
Make sure that you get up and move around every 20-30 minutes before your body gets exhausted. Studies show that taking breaks in between helps to increase work productivity and can even increase your creativity. If you need to stand for prolonged hours at your work, don’t keep standing, move around.
How to Avoid Injuries with Ergonomic Work Environment
When you spend hours at your desk every day, it is important that it shouldn’t wear you down. Here are some of the improvements you can do to keep your desk or workplace healthy for you.
- Use chairs with proper support
Use chairs with backrest that reach upto shoulder blades and provide proper lumbar support. Ensure that your chair has an armrest so that your forearm can be supported to reduce strain on wrists and shoulders. If your feet don’t reach the floor, then you can use a footrest to elevate your feet.
Adjust your chair so as to make your legs and arms come parallel to the ground and knees even with your hips. Always sit back and move your chair close to the desk to support and maintain the inward curve of the lumbar spine. See the below image and follow the correct sitting posture.
- Adjust the height of the monitor
Keep the monitor an arm distance away from where you sit. Also, adjust the height of the computer monitor 2 inches above your eye level. If you use a laptop, then you will need a laptop stand to raise the height of the screen. Keeping it too low or too high can strain your neck and eyes and can result in headache.
- Position the keyboard
The keyboard should be kept slightly below elbow height, and the forearms parallel with the floor. Positioning your keyboard in negative keyboard tilt will keep your wrists in neutral position.
- Position the mouse
Position the mouse close to the keyboard at the same height.
- Adjust lighting
Limit the use of bright light in places where you need to perform computer tasks. But make sure you don’t go too dim. Improper lighting can create glare on the computer screen and staring at this monitor for long periods of time to avoid eye strain.
- Use proper footwear and follow correct standing posture
If you need to stand for a long time then distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet. Also use proper cushioned footwear that fit properly to support your legs and protect your spine. Avoid using high heels if you need to stand for hours. See the below image for following the correct posture.
- Take expert opinion
If you still feel pain or any discomfort even after setting up an ergonomic workstation, then it is better to seek an expert opinion. Schedule an appointment for Physical Therapy at Optimum Rehab Physical Therapy center in Wall Street, NYC to discuss your issues with our trained highly skilled professionals. By working hand-in-hand with the Physical Therapists who are specialized in treating common workplace injuries in Wall Street, Astoria, Upper East Side, New York City(NYC), you can recuperate faster and return to your normal day to day activities.
Benefits of Ergonomic Sound Work Place
A well-designed workplace can result in an improved sense of well-being and sound structural health. The workplace design should provide a safe and comfortable environment. Setting up a strong workplace ergonomics has proven benefits. Some of the benefits of workplace ergonomics are:
- Increase in productivity
A workplace that is built according to ergonomic standards will make it easier for people to perform their work efficiently. With good posture and less exertion, the effort to perform a task reduces.
- Improvement in quality of work
With poor ergonomics, people get frustrated and exhausted easily, so they won’t be able to do their best work. With strong ergonomics, one can focus more on their work and produce better quality results.
- Reduces the risk of back pain
Sitting in an awkward position for extended periods of time can have negative side-effects on your health. By using ergonomic chairs that provide proper lumbar support, you can reduce the risk of back pain.
Reduces the risk of neck pain
Sitting improperly for a long period of time can have a bad impact on your body, especially our neck. But setting up an ergonomic sound chair that gives proper support to the neck can reduce the risk of catching a neck pain.
- Reduce Absenteeism
Latest research findings conclude that improving your workplace environment can minimize stress on your body and can thereby reduce absenteeism to a great extent.
These are few of the most important benefits of setting up a sound ergonomic workstation. Upgrading your workspace with healthy, comfortable equipment’s would help you to lead a healthy life. They may seem simple but they’re sure to make a lot of difference. It would be the best decision as it would help you avoid injuries, strains, and soreness.