Ergonomics involves the scientific design of environments, objects and systems that can be used by most people with the most comfort, safety and efficiency.
Why is ergonomics important? Because, for years, companies have been faced with numerous work absences and a drop in productivity due to musculoskeletal disorders.
It is obvious that a preventive or curative approach can improve workers' health, attendance record and performance.
Musculoskeletal disorders, also called MSDs, encompass several painful disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and tension neck syndrome. They are caused by frequent execution of repetitive tasks.
They are also a result of poor posture.
Back pain is also one of the most significant musculoskeletal disorders reported.
The two main causes of back pain are:
- poor seated posture, for example, leaning forward;
- remaining seated for several hours in the same position.
For workers who carry heavy loads, poor posture and inappropriate work methods are the two main causes of back pain.
Preventing MSDs… Is it possible to prevent MSDs with current knowledge? Yes! Organizational, psychological AND physical factors in the workplace can be modified to this effect. However, personal risk factors are not as easy to adapt.
So, what are the risk factors that can be present in any workplace?
There are five:
- recovery time;
- posture and inadequate work methods.
A risk factor does not operate alone. The combination of several risk factors increases the likelihood of health problems.
Prevention is the key to workers' health. A properly arranged work station and use of appropriate work methods will favour the disappearance and prevention of headaches, back, shoulder and neck pain, eyestrain, repetitive strain injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.
We invite you to consult our reference document for detailed information about what kind of posture office employees should adopt.
Handling heavy loads…
Aside from work posture, handling and lifting heavy loads is a frequent cause of musculoskeletal disorders.
Once again, we recommend that you consult our reference document for detailed information on how to handle and lift heavy loads.
Due to the progressive nature of repetitive strain injuries and backaches, it is important to report pain and discomfort as soon as they appear!
It is recommended that you designate a person who will act as a direct advisor.
In the meantime, it is possible to check if recent changes were made in terms of work equipment or methods. If not, it is recommended that a review be conducted with an internal or external resource to see if work stations and methods need to be adjusted.
In most cases, these adjustments do not require purchasing expensive equipment.
Detect, prevent, rectify: these actions help to create comfortable, safe and efficient environments for everyone's greater good.
It's an investment that pays!
To find out more about this topic, we suggest you read the reference document.
In case of any questions, doubts or a specific need for support, don't hesitate to contact the specialized support service offered to the eligible individuals.