01 Feb Ergonomics affects your desk job too!
It is easy to think of ergonomics when it comes to hands-on work, but what about your team working at a desk all day? What does “ergonomics” mean? In its simplest form, ergonomics is the science of fitting jobs to people. For the more technical mind, it’s a field of study that looks at the interaction between people, their workplace, and their environment.
Ergonomic-related injuries, also known as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), can occur if the requirements of a job – or the equipment used to perform it – puts excessive stress on a person’s body. Even simple actions such as lifting, sitting, or standing in a stationary position can pose an ergonomic health risk if the frequency of the action, duration of the action, or the force involved is excessive.
According to OSHA, MSDs are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. MSD cases account for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases and lead to more than $15 billion in workers’ compensation costs each year.
Did you know about 80-90% of all home and office work is done from a seated position? This means an average person will spend 80,000 hours of their life doing work while sitting! According to the National Safety Council, office clerks, receptionists, and administrative support workers account for, on average, 4,050 MSD cases a year. People in these roles suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and injuries to the neck, shoulder and back that require a range of 11 to 16 days away from work to recover.
That’s why applying quality ergonomics principles is good for you and your organization. It can help reduce workplace injuries and make your workers more comfortable while doing their job. Benefits can include:
- Reduced fatigue and discomfort
- Increased comfort and productivity
- Reduced occurrence of injuries like cumulative trauma disorders and repetitive stress injuries
- Decreased costs (I.e., health insurance, workers compensation and lost time)
What can you do to implement a good ergonomic system in your office?
- Start with Leadership Support– An ergonomic process is only as strong as the overall commitment from leadership.
- Encourage Collaboration – Having workers participate in worksite assessments can create a culture of ergonomic success.
- Do an Ergonomic Assessment – A significant step in the process is to identify and assess potential ergonomic problems in the workplace.
- Encourage Early Reporting – Early reporting will help to prevent or reduce the progression of symptoms, the development of serious injuries, and lost time.
- Implement Solutions – Once assessed as a potential problem, it is key to implement a solution that can reduce, control or eliminate the potential MSD.
- Start Training – Training ensures that workers are aware of ergonomics, its benefits, potential MSDs, and the importance of reporting early symptoms.
- Evaluate Progress– Established evaluation, hazard identification, and correction procedures are ways to evaluate the effectiveness of the process and ensure its long-term success.
Sources: OSHA – Ergonomics
Beaurau of Labor Statistics
TCT Safety, Inc.
National Safety Council