March 20, 2018

SCF AZ: Ergonomic Strategies Prevent Musculoskeletal Strains, Stress

Phoenix, AZ – When you hear the word “ergonomics” what comes to mind? It may be various tools and devices to keep workers from getting injured: a back or wrist brace, a specially designed chair or a custom lighting fixture.

Ergonomics encompasses these tools and more, but its definition is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the worker.

Ergonomic injuries (commonly referred to as musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs) are tied to repetitive tasks, the overuse of muscles and bad posture when working. To overcome these problems, employers may want to consider “designing” the pain out of repeated job tasks, analyzing work spaces as well as other equipment and controls to align more closely with an employee’s physical capabilities and limitations.

Work stations that are designed ergonomically may help employers reduce incidents of back and shoulder strain among workers. Here are some tips:

  • Look for work stations that are designed with spring-leveling carts and elevating tables, which would place objects at waist level for lifting.
  • Adjust work areas to fit a worker’s height
  • Encourage workers to shift positions or get up and stretch periodically to relieve fatigue and strain on their backs.
  • Consider the use of anti-fatigue floor mats to ease back pain.

Office workers or those employed in industrial jobs may suffer chronic strain in their shoulders and necks. Here are some suggestions to prevent shoulder and neck strain:

  • Place desk workers’ telephones closer inside their work zones so they don’t have to over reach to pick up the handsets.
  • Consider installing hands-free head sets for workers who will be required to spend a lot of time on the phone, as squeezing a handset between the ear and shoulder can cause stress and neck pain.
  • Static postures can cause stress; encourage workers to stand up occasionally from their desks to move around and stretch.
  • For workers in a processing line, be aware if tall employees are stooping over or if shorter employees are reaching improperly to perform tasks, as both situations can cause strain and stress.
  • For workers who use hand-cutting tools, make sure tools are sharp so employees don’t have to twist arms, necks and shoulders to complete cutting tasks.

Source: SCF AZ

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