What is ergonomics?

Regardless of the industry you work in, it is likely that you will have to perform some type of repetitive or awkward motion during your course of work. This could be an administrative procedure, a lifting procedure or any other type of motion that might cause an injury. Ergonomics is the science or study of how people work in an environment. Ergonomics helps us identify and control motion related hazards and prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) which affect muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons. MSD’s accounted for 33% of all injuries and illnesses in 2013.

What are the effects of repetitive or awkward motion on the body?

1. Carpal tunnel syndrome: affects the hand and fingers
2. Tendinitis: affects areas where tendons connect to bone
3. Rotator cuff injuries: affects the shoulder
4. Epicondylitis: affects the elbow
5. Trigger finger: a painful condition caused by tendon inflammation in the fingers
6. Muscle strains: affects areas where muscle is present
7. Back injuries: affect the spine and related systems

How can you protect yourself from musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) and related injuries?

1. Report any previously MSD’s or similar conditions to your employer if you haven’t already so your work does not make pre-existing issues worse
2. Think about your work procedures and report any inefficient or possibly harmful procedures to your supervisor or employer
3. Report any MSD or other physical symptoms as soon as you become aware of them
4. Use equipment and tools instead of manual procedures whenever possible
5. Use personal protective equipment whenever possible to reduce the risk of injury
6. Evaluate and re-engineer permanent work areas to ensure they are ergonomically safe and efficient
7. Conduct routine inspections of all work areas and processes and report hazards or deficiencies to management immediately

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