Ergonomics is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems, and environment for human use. It is a study of how a workplace and the equipment used can best be designed for comfort, efficiency, safety, and productivity; without sacrifice of quality. It can be in a form of intervention by assessment and education, avoidance of injury through emphasis on workplace adjustment, or promotion of wellness through movement and rest.

            According to the history, it was proposed due to the number of injury of the office workers increases in relation to their individual physical differences and the use of the same standard workplace setup. Improper workplace setup leads to more musculoskeletal effort, causing injury. This resulted in bigger expenses of the company as workers demand for customized workplace set up as advised by their physicians to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, that is later on became a necessity for companies. This proposal lowered down the company’s overall costs, increased productivity of workers, better product quality, increased employee satisfaction, decreased fatigue and tiredness and decreased musculoskeletal injuries and stress.

Body mechanics is the way one’s body is held and moves during daily activities. This helps promote proper posture, positioning, and exercise that can reduce Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

MSDs are injuries and disorders affecting human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.) This can lead to employee absenteeism, loss of productivity, and increase cost in healthcare, disability and worker’s compensation. Risk factors include repetitiveness and speed of work, work posture and movements, vibration, temperature, pressure and force of movements. If the workload or task is too heavy for the individual and their capabilities, it could result to MSDs.

a. Risk Factors

Most commonly affected body areas are the back, shoulder, leg and arm, respectively. Symptoms usually include pain or discomfort, numbness or tingling sensation, stiffness, weakness, cramps, and reduction in range of motion. Common MSDs can injure the nerves by impinging them, soft tissue inflammation, degeneration or can develop as chronic pain.

Control Methods

  1. Reduce the weight of a load to limit force exertion.
  2. Use wheeled carts in pushing heavy items and other mechanical assists in lifting.
  3. Slide instead of carrying heavy objects.
  4. Rotate between workstations and tasks.
  5. Stretch break, hydrate, and rest to recover.
  6. Wear personal protective equipment and comfortable supports.
  7. Observe proper body mechanics all the time. Keep spinal alignment in neutral position.
  8. Assess the weight of the load before lifting anything. If too heavy, ask for help!
  9. For more information on work-specific control hazards, visit Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/controlhazards.html
  10.  Exercises such as stretching and strengthening muscles of the joints can help prevent MSDs. For a more detailed MSD program, visit Focus Athletics for an individualize assessment and program. Book an appointment now!

KEY POINTS

  • Ergonomics can assist you on your occupation.
  • MSDs can occur in jobs with increased risk factors.
  • Risk factors can be lowered so MSDs can be reduced.
  • Reporting signs and symptoms early is essential for faster healing.
  • You can help your company put ergonomic changes to workplace.
  • Proper body mechanics and exercises can help alleviate and reduce chances of having MSDs.

-Be safe. Work fast. No Safety, Know Pain.-

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