Many of our health conditions are due to risk factors in the workplace and the absence of ergonomics. 

What is ergonomics? 

Ergonomics is the science dedicated to design workspaces suited to human needs and preventing or decreasing the development of injuries. To avoid injuries and sickness, you need to know how to protect yourself while working.

What are the risk factors?

  • Repeated and prolonged activities
  • Activities that require strength
  • Inadequate posture
  • Vibration
  • Low temperatures

More common injuries and diseases

  • Bursitis – inflammation of the cavity between the skin and bone or bone and tendon
  • Cellulite – tissue infection after a shin injury
  • Tense neck or shoulders – inflammation of the neck, muscles, and tendons of the shoulders
  • Trigger finger – swelling of the tendons of the fingers
  • Osteoarthritis – a disease that damages the tissue that covers the end of the bones
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.
  • Tendonitis – inflammation of the area where the muscle and tendon join, usually from blows or excessive exertion

Know your back

  • It consists of vertebrae, discs, a spinal cord, nerves, and muscles.
  • The vertebrae or bones are separated and cushioned by spongy discs that allow your back to move smoothly.
  • The muscles and tendons support the vertebrae in a delicate balance, even when you are moving.
  • If you move or lift something incorrectly, you can disturb this balance, often with painful results.

Lift objects with care

  • Estimate the load weight and lift the object near your body. Otherwise, back muscles and ligament will tense, and the pressure on the vertebral discs increases.
  • Spread your feet to maintain proper balance.

When you work standing-up

  • Keep a straight posture.
  • Place one of your feet on a step. Alternate with the other foot from time to time.
  • If possible, sit down.
  • Use an anti-fatigue mat on the surface that will stand for comfort.
  • Keep your elbows close to the body.
  • Move your feet instead of turning your back and shoulders.

When you work seated

  • You should be able to do the job without excessively stretching your arms or turning too much.
  • The desk surface should be at the level of the elbows.
  • Your back should be straight, and the shoulders relaxed.
  • You must have some support for the elbows, forearms, and hands.
  • You should periodically take a break and walk, stretch, stand, or exercise.

If you work with computers

  • Make sure the monitor screen is at your eye level.
  • If you answer the phone while writing on the computer, use an ear or headphone to avoid neck strain.
  • The keyboard must be level with your elbows, and the wrists must rest on a pad in front of the keyboard.
  • Use a document holder to avoid eye and neck fatigue.