No matter what industry you work in, ergonomic injuries cost businesses nationwide billions of dollars in workers’ compensation costs and employees the hardship of recovering from painful injuries. In fact, OSHA states that 33% of all workplace injuries are ergonomics-related and account for $15 billion to $20 billion annually in workers’ compensation. To offset the physical and financial hardship ergonomic injuries can cause, employees can follow a range of best practices and use appropriate desk accessories. Below are our top four tips for preventing ergonomic injuries at work!
Prevention Tactic 1: Keyboard
To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries, your keyboard will be the most effective place to start. A split design keyboard will be the best way to keep your hands in a neutral typing position. Specifically choose a keyboard with an adjustable horizontal plane, a range of vertical tenting, and adjustable feet on the back of the keyboard, creating a negative sloping angle to keep your wrists in the desired neutral position. Depending on your workflow, you may also want to find a wireless keyboard for flexibility so you can easily move your work station if you need to move from your office.
Prevention Tactic 2: Monitor Arms
Save space on your desk and prevent unnatural neck positions with monitor arms to display your computer monitors. With adjustable monitor arms, you can position your computer display into the position that works best for you – no more bending down to look at your computer screen or stacking your monitor on top of books. Select from single or dual monitor arms depending on what you need for your most efficient workflow.
Prevention Tactic 3: Posture
The first place to start when looking to prevent ergonomic industries doesn’t require anything except mindful posture! When sitting at your desk keep your feet firmly on the ground at a 90° angle with your legs. Your thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor and your back needs to be fully supported with a lumbar rest. When typing on your computer your elbows should be bent between 90° and 120° and tucked close against your torso. Finally, pay special attention to your head, shoulders, and neck. Your head should be in-line with your upper body and your shoulders relaxed and pulled back. Maintaining appropriate ergonomic posture is the first step in preventing ergonomic injuries at work.
Prevention Tactic 4: Desk and Chair
Now it’s time to move onto some of your large desk accessories. Firstly, your desk should be the same height as your elbows when you’re sitting down. It should also be large enough to accommodate your computer monitor so that it’s 20 inches away from your face and eyes. You may also want to consider a flexible standing desk that will allow you to quickly move from a sitting to a standing position. Standing respites give your legs a much-needed stretch.
As far as your chair, you should select an adjustable option that allows you to fully customize the chair’s height, angle of the back, and armrests. The seat and back width need to be large enough to accommodate your size and the desk height should be at least be 12” tall to provide the back support we mentioned above.