At Safety Pros, we know that it is not often you hear about office workers suffering injuries on the job. While the office environment is considerably safer than occupations involving heavy machinery, chemicals or prolonged outdoor conditions, there is a misconception that office workers do not suffer from workplace injury. Muscle strain, fatigue, back pain and eyestrain caused by prolonged sitting, standing and using a computer can lead to debilitating injuries that can worsen over time.
Improper ergonomics can harm the musculoskeletal system. Your musculoskeletal system is made up of the structures that support you and help you move, such as bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Examples of musculoskeletal problems that may be related to office ergonomic issues are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle strains, often affecting the neck, upper back, lower back, and shoulders
- Tendon injury
An ergonomically correct workstation can help you avoid discomfort and fatigue in the office. You will want a workstation that allows for a comfortable working environment. Proper office ergonomics can increase productively and efficiency while preventing damage to the musculoskeletal system. Use these tips to make your office workspace ergonomically sound:
Be aware of your posture. Keep the weight of your head directly above the base of your neck. Avoid “craning” your head and neck forward. This can reduce neck and shoulder pain.
Do not slouch! When you slouch, you are putting pressure on the vertebrae of your back. While it may seem comfortable at first, prolonged slouching can case back, neck, shoulder and hip pain. Remain upright in your chair. Avoid straining to reach for items. Move your chair as close to your work as possible to avoid leaning and stretching for items.
Position your computer properly. Place your monitor directly in front of you. The top of the screen should be no higher than eye level. Place your keyboard directly in front of the monitor. Reduce neck and shoulder pain by preventing frequent head turning. Both the keyboard and mouse should be positioned close enough to prevent excessive reaching. Straining to reach the mouse or keyboard can put strain on shoulders and arms.
Keep your eyes healthy. Your computer monitor should not be more than an arm’s length away. This can help prevent eyestrain. Control glare by making sure your monitor is not placed near windows or bright lights.
Hold the phone! Talking on the phone while balancing the receiver between your neck and ear is really bad practice. Always hold the receiver. If you much use your hands during the conversation, consider using headset. A wireless headset increases mobility and allows for hands-free calling.
You can reduce musculoskeletal injuries in the office workplace by following a few simple ergonomic tips. There are several products available to enhance the ergonomic efficiency of your workstation. Wrist rests, arm supports, copy holders and adjustable computer workstations are just a few products that can help office workers reduce muscle strain and fatigue. For more information on products that enhance office ergonomics, contact the Safety Pros. We can help you find inexpensive solutions to your ergonomic needs.