National Safety Month, Week 2: Ergonomics
Ergonomics involves designing the job environment to fit the person and is important to take into consideration at work, but also while working on projects at home. It’s about learning how to work smarter and preventing conditions such as overexertion.
Ergonomic conditions are disorders of the soft tissues, specifically of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs. These conditions are often caused by factors such as:
- Overexertion while lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching
- Repetitive motions
- Working in awkward positions
- Sitting or standing too long in one position
- Using excessive force
- Resting on sharp corners or edges
- Temperature extremes
Remember, these can occur from activities at work, such as working on an assembly line, using heavy equipment or typing on a computer. They also can result from activities at home like playing video games, helping someone move, participating in hobbies such as sewing or through home repair projects.
Know the signs
Ergonomic conditions are best dealt with when they are caught early. Common symptoms include:
- Loss of grip strength
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure to see your physician or an occupational physician as soon as possible to determine the cause of your pain.
More information, including resources for Ergonomics programs can be found at the National Safety Council