Work Safe

Ergonomics

Different work environments call for different ergonomic solutions, which is why one of the key steps in creating an injury-free environment is identifying the areas where ergonomics is needed most within your industry.

The Office Environment
In the midst of the information age, it’s no surprise that one of the most prevalent work environments is a computer workstation. While this may seem like a relatively safe environment, computer and desk ergonomics suggest that there’s more risk involved than you may realize. From ocular sensitivity or blurred vision to posture issues to carpal tunnel syndrome, there are many problems that can come from behind a desk.

Desk ergonomics encourage body alignment and proper distancing from the objects being utilized. Fortunately, most equipment can be adjusted to properly fit employees’ size, preferences and physical conditions. Knowing how to adjust the equipment and position the body correctly will provide the most ergonomically safe environment for employees.

For more information about ergonomics in the office environment, download Tool Box Talk: Computer and Desk Ergonomics.

The Retail/Grocery Environment
Working in the retail environment involves numerous repetitive and potentially harmful motions. Duties that consist of stocking shelves and operating a register entail twisting, lifting, extending and reaching movements, which if performed carelessly, can cause sprains, strains, or even musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs affect your tendons, joints, cartilage, nerves, blood vessels, bones and muscles as well as more severe cases, which can occur to the rotator cuff (shoulder) or to the back. With an ergonomically safe workplace, unnecessary movements can be eliminated to reduce risk factors that cause MSDs.

For more information about ergonomics in specific grocery departments, download Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders.

The Home Healthcare Environment
Many hazards exist in home healthcare due to limitations within the home environment, which are often uncontrollable. Circumstances that home healthcare workers face include limited space and crowded rooms, lack of assistance, non-adjustable beds, limited access due to connected equipment, such as catheters, or physical and mental interferences with uncooperative patients. When home healthcare workers perform duties like patient transfers, assisting patients in standing, walking, bathing or feeding, these limitations can cause the worker to manually lift heavier weights alone or assume awkward positions and stances. Proper technique and ergonomic equipment can help to prevent these circumstances from leading to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and other injuries that threaten the home healthcare worker.

For more information about ergonomics and home healthcare, download                       
NIOSH Hazard Review: Occupational Hazards in Home Healthcare

Warehouse Environment
From transporting goods to and from trucks or loading docks to breaking down pallets and stocking products, warehouse labor is extremely strenuous. Improper lifting, attempting to lift loads that are too heavy or too low to the ground, carrying loads incorrectly and unnecessary reaching frequently cause injuries, especially those affecting the spine. Ergonomic lifting solutions reduce the need to bend, stoop or twist the torso by elevating the load from the bottom of pallets, lifting with a tool like a dolly, forklift, cart or wheelbarrow, and positioning the body safely during the lift.

For more information about ergonomics and warehouse loading,download                        
Tool Box Talk: Loading and Unloading Pallets

Do you have questions about how Missouri Employers Mutual or the WorkSAFE Center can help your workplace? Contact us today to learn more about our resources and custom safety training.

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