In all work environments, employees are subjected to a variety of ergonomic risk factors. No matter if your work is sedentary or active, your movements likely fall into one or more ergonomic risk categories: force, posture, and repetition. These risk factors lead to millions of injuries every year that cost businesses billions in direct costs. Luckily, there are simple adjustments you can make to eliminate these risk factors that contribute to musculoskeletal health and repetitive strain injuries. Below we will cover the top three ergonomic risk factors to be aware of and offer suggestions to eliminate them from your workflow.
Force is one of the most common ergonomic risk factors because every movement you make as you work is a result of force. To reduce force-related injuries, take note of equipment improvements you can make along with your physical approach to completing your work.
The equipment you use on a daily basis will be highly dependent on your industry, but common ergonomic improvements include utilizing easily adjustable standing desks, incorporating power-operated equipment instead of manual alternatives, and using carts and dollies instead of carrying boxes by hand.
Physically, the best technique you can incorporate into your workflow to reduce the ergonomic risks associated with force is to use proper body mechanics. Paying attention to posture and appropriate lifting techniques are just two examples of ways you can control force in your work setting.
Posture as an ergonomic risk factor can affect employees who move all day as well as those with desk jobs. When you consistently have an unnatural posture, the joints and surrounding muscles are faced with excessive force. To resolve this issue, maintain the recommended posture for whatever task you’re completing; these recommendations usually direct employees to keep their joints in mid-range motion.
No matter what field you’re in, experts recommend taking regular stretch breaks to counteract any awkward and repetitive postures. For those who work at the computer, an example would be to stand up and stretch your neck and wrists. Employers should also consider job rotation so no single employee has to carry the bulk of tasks that lead to poor posture.
Repetition is an ergonomic risk factor that every employee faces on a daily basis. As the name suggests, repetition is the largest driver behind repetitive strain injuries – including carpal tunnel syndrome.
As with the other risk factors we mentioned, repetition can be avoided by utilizing equipment and tools that minimize repetitive movements and through actions you take to break up your workday. Reduce repetition in your work environment by using ergonomic-focused equipment like split keyboards or ergonomic mice, taking stretch breaks, and breaking up the type of work you’re completing. Although repetition will likely not be eliminated from your workflow completely, being mindful of the equipment you use and the posture you hold can go a long way to reducing this risk factor.
Ensure you’re reducing force, poor posture, and repetition with the appropriate office and home equipment. Browse our selection of ergonomic keyboards, mice, standing desks, and more here!