Ergonomic safety refers to a set of practices that can help avoid injury and stress on muscles and joints. For proper ergonomic safety, it is crucial to work in a manner that allows you to be comfortable and ergonomically correct. Learning proper work techniques can make a difference. Working at a height that is too high or too low can cause physical stress, as can over extending the arms. Poor posture often leads to problems involving the neck and back.
Taking breaks between repetitive tasks can be an important part of ergonomic safety. Repetitive strain injuries occur when constant strain is placed on an area, so it is essential to alternate among assignments. If there are several physical duties that need to be accomplished, it's best not to concentrate solely on one for a long period of time.
Many people in the workplace do not have an ideally positioned work station. In such a case, the worker should ask for more suitable accommodations, rather than accepting a poor ergonomically designed work area. One can also seek the expert advice from the company's occupational ergonomics specialist. Many companies employ such a specialist to help employees work in a safer environment.
Often overlooked in the matter of ergonomic safety is the physical condition of the individual. Being overweight can add a burden to the joints. The back and knees are especially vulnerable to injuries and stress. While setting up an ergonomically safe environment, it is also crucial to maintain proper weight for many health reasons.
Whether working at home or at one's job, lifting heavy objects or moving furniture, proper lifting techniques are essential for ergonomic safety. Being careful not to lock the knees while lifting and bending may avoid back injuries. Lifting close to one's body rather than at a distance is also important.
Whether performing duties while standing or sitting, it is important to work at eye level. Slouching the shoulders to look down while working can put stress on the shoulders and trapezious muscles. Over a period of time, this type of repetitive posture can lead to chronic problems such as shoulder tendinitis or rotator cuff injuries. Conversely, stretching the neck to look upward may place strain on the neck muscles.
Another issue to be concerned with is glare, either directly from the sun or from the reflection on a computer monitor or other work surface. Glare may cause eyestrain and headaches if exposure is constant. It is essential to eliminate glare through use of window blinds or shades. Setting up a workstation that is not affected by room lighting also can help.