Workplace Ergonomics

One of the simplest things employees can do to help prevent injuries is also one of the most important. That one thing is workplace ergonomics. Workplace ergonomics in used in most contexts as it relates to the position of a person sitting at their desk. While this is true, it does not stop in the office. Ergonomics is a science that deals with the design and arrangement of the things people use at work to make the work easier and/or safer.

The most common area of focus is the office environment. Several steps can be taken to configure the desk and workstation to the individual. There are several web sites dedicated to providing this information, however, some simple elements are outlined in the diagram below.

Some quick things to remember when adjusting your work station.
Set your chair first. Make sure your head and neck are straight and shoulders are relaxed. Adjust the arm rests to this relaxed position.
Adjust the height of your monitor so the top is just above your sight line.
Adjust the keyboard and mouse position so that you do not have to reach or strain your arms to use them.

Ergonomics is limited to some extent in regard to workers in the field. Adjustments can be made to alter the workplace or work situation to make it easier and safer for the worker our work on prevention of injuries should not stop. Employees that work in the field deal with certain postures or settings in their daily activities that cannot be avoided. In this scenario, we want to be aware of the things that may cause injuries so that those may be prevented. Some factors to look for are:
o Overexertion
o Repetitive motions
o Awkward positions
o Long duration of activity
o Lack of recovery time
o Vibration
o Forceful motion

Safe lifting techniques are very useful to the field worker. Some very simple steps can greatly reduce your risks of injury.
• Inspect the path you will be taking when lifting an object. Make sure it is dry and clear of debris that may cause a slip.
• Get close to the object and bend your knees with your back straight. Bring the object in close to you with your arms.
• Lift with your legs slowly and evenly. If the weight is too much ask for help!
• Once you have lifted the object keep your back straight and avoid twisting motions. If you must twist pivot with your feet.
• When setting the load down keep your back straight and bend at the knees to slowly lower it to the surface.
But remember, no amount of safe lifting techniques can counter the effect of lifting too much weight. If the weight is too much, ask for assistance.