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Ergonomics: What It Means For Your Job & Safety

Ergonomics is a concept that is now pretty much synonymous with working in office environments. Although working in a cubicle and sitting in front of a computer sound fairly harmless, you’d be surprised by the possibilities for injury that can be incurred without the proper accommodations. If you want to find out how you can keep yourself safe while working in the office, then you’ll want to know all about ergonomics.

Simply put, ergonomics is actually a scientific way of studying how humans interact with machines in the workplace. When a person is more comfortable in their work environment, they’ll be able to produce better quality work as well as avoid potential injury.

So how is it possible that sitting in front of a computer on a daily basis can lead to injury?

It helps to take into account the way the human body works and what happens when you subject it to hours of routine movements each day. When seated at your desk, your entire body is positioned a certain way. There is a right and a wrong way to sit at a desk. When you have good posture, your body is relieved of tension, especially in your joints like the wrist and elbow. Sitting up also helps your spine. Slouching or sitting incorrectly can put added tension on your joints and your spine and when repeated for a long period of time, you’ll eventually start to experience aching joints, soreness and stiffness. These types of discomforts make it more difficult for you to focus at work, resulting in poor performance.

In this case, ergonomics can be used to find a solution. If you are uncomfortable with the way you are sitting, your company can provide you with a chair that is specially designed to correct your posture and make it more comfortable for you to do your work.

Do you feel your wrists hurting while typing or do you suffer from conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome?

Ergonomics can solve that, too, by switching out your old keyboard with an ergonomic one that will correct the way you place your hands and position your wrists while typing.

The concept of ergonomics can even be applied without the need for actual office items. For example, sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end will undoubtedly put strain on your eyes or lead to headaches and dizziness. Instead of subjecting yourself to this uncomfortable working condition, follow the rule of ergonomics by making your workplace more comfortable for you by taking 10 minute breaks away from your computer screen to let your eyes rest. This is also an ideal time to get up and walk around the office for a bit to relieve any tension in your legs and arms. By ignoring your body, you are potentially putting yourself at risk for a strained back as well as achy joints, which can cause you more problems down the line.

Almost all workplaces practice ergonomics so if you want to know more information or feel that you need an ergonomic solution for your workspace, be sure to talk to your supervisor or manager. If your place of work does not practice ergonomic solutions, do yourself and your coworkers a favor by suggesting to your superiors that they take some time to install ergonomic solutions and information into your office.