When you think about calling in sick to work, typically a cold or the flu may come to mind. But the fastest-growing category of workplace injury is something called a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD). MSDs such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis are often related to repetitive motion and stress injuries resulting from ergonomic stressors, such as lifting heavy items, typing for too long on a computer, or sitting at a workstation in an awkward position.
What can you do to prevent getting an MSD? Here are some tips from worksite safety experts on how to use ergonomics—the science that seeks to adapt tasks and tools to fit the employee—to help you stay healthy and avoid injuries on the job.
Ideally your workspace should have an adjustable chair that you can customize to work best for you. Specifically, you’ll want to pay attention to:
Your workspace should be set up with the following:
Now that your workspace is set up ergonomically, what about the bag you carry to and from the office, or when traveling? Lighten your load by only carrying what is needed, or consider using a rolling bag or backpack to distribute the weight evenly to both sides of your body.
You may feel uncomfortable when sitting for too long, which is why many offices are beginning to implement standing desks or sit/stand workstations. Standing workstations allow you to work with a more neutral back posture when compared with seated work. However, standing requires more energy than sitting and can put stress on certain joints such as your hips, knees, or feet. It may be beneficial to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
Listen to your body and take short breaks throughout the day when you start to feel any discomfort. This can help improve blood flow and keep working muscles fresh and loose.
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