The key to preventing work-related neck and back injuries is to evaluate your employees’ workstations and make sure it is ergonomically correct and promotes good posture. What is ergonomics? Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people, their work, and their environments. The goal of an ergonomically correct workstation is to help the body move in natural ways and reduce stressors that might cause damage and pain.
Discomfort and pain from slouching at a desk all day is very common, with many office workers suffering pain at least once a week. If your employees are working at an ergonomically incorrect workstation or practice poor posture, they may suffer from neck, shoulder, wrist and elbow discomfort.
Share these tips with your employees to prevent future issues:
Good Posture Tips
Avoid unnecessary discomfort at work by focusing on your posture and making your workstation ergonomically appropriate.
Typically, aches and pains from office work stem from physical stress due to prolonged and awkward positions, repetitive motions and overuse. When applied to your workstation, these helpful tips will help promote good posture and correct ergonomics:
Chair position: Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor, with your knees about level with your hips, making sure your seat is not pressing against the back of your knees.
Back support: Keep your backbone straight, shoulders back, abdomen and buttocks pulled in, and chin tucked. If your chair does not allow this, try placing a cushion between the curve of your lower back and the back of the chair.
Computer monitor: Position your monitor 18 to 30 inches from your eyes. The top of your screen should be at eye level or below so you look slightly down at your work. If glare is a problem, turn off some or all overhead lights and close blinds if possible.
Headsets: Use a headset with your phone if you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time to prevent twisting your neck to the side.
Wrist rest: Keep your wrists in a straight, natural position when using your keyboard. Do not use your wrist rest while typing. Use it to take occasional breaks from typing.
Mouse: Place your mouse to the side of your keyboard so you do not have to reach too far to use it.
Even when your work does not require great physical exertion, moving the body repeatedly in ways that it is not ready to move or using muscle groups that haven’t been warmed up for work is a common cause of pain. There is real value in practicing some basic stretching exercises to prepare our bodies for work.
Performing simple stretching exercises throughout the day for hands, wrists, back and neck can help avoid problems. Hands and wrists should be stretched so they are ready to perform the typical tasks required at work, especially typing. Your neck can be stretched gently from side to side and then from front to back. Your back can be stretched while sitting in a chair by bending your chin toward your knees.
Sitting at a desk all day, even with the best posture and ergonomics, can still be stressful on your body. On average, your body can only tolerate one position for about 20 minutes before needing readjustment. Taking a one-minute break, even to just stand and stretch, every 20 minutes is helpful.
Even employees who have relatively safe jobs need to be reminded of things like ergonomics often, so they stay safe and healthy. Looking for more safety tips? Reach out to our Safety Director Josh Hancey at firstname.lastname@example.org