You might be familiar with the term, but what does it mean? Ergonomics is the science of fitting the job to the worker, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Poor ergonomics is considered to be a major contributor to several mild to severe injuries including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), back injuries, back pain, arthritis, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), and many other such injuries.
There are many ways to eliminate the ergonomics risk factors that help fit the workplace to the workers. And so, this post will explain some of the best ways to minimize and avoid ergonomic hazards at work.
Ways to Prevent Poor Ergonomics Injuries in the Workplace
Below are some ways to prevent ergonomic hazards within the work environment:
Identify the Risk Factors
Starting with identifying the risks that may become severe over time. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the painful and crippling contributors to the problem. Therefore, workers should start identifying such issues on their own while doing their day-to-day work operations.
The musculoskeletal disorders if not taken into consideration can result in strain or sprain injuries leading workers to chronic ailments. The health risks may include extreme weather conditions, quick motions, vibrations, or contact stress.
Involve Management in the Process
It is the legal responsibility of supervisors and senior management to identify and address the issues or any ergonomics risk factors to create secure and safe work environments.
Management should invest their time, money, and resources to improve their workstations to minimize health risks.
Use the Right Equipment for the Work
Another significant cause of ergonomic hazards is the incorrect and inappropriate use of work equipment. This may arise the problem or make it worse.
Therefore, employers should implement practical steps like these below:
- Make the work equipment easily accessible to those in need
- Encourage taking short breaks within work
- Use proper ergonomics desk, chair & other tools
- Adjust the right sitting posture
- Implement correct lifting & loading techniques
The solution to the Problem
Below are some of the essential ergonomics injury prevention solutions:
One of the best ways to minimize this is adjusting to improve the workplace. This requires engineering controls and systematic approaches to implement strategies that can eliminate the hazards.
Employers must have risk identification and reduction method to create a safe work environment for their employees and workers.
Warm-up Stretching & Breaks
Simple stretching exercises and short breaks are also effective ways to control and minimize the risks of injuries. These exercises ensure that employees are physically fit and ready to perform their chores at work and have proper practices to mitigate MSDs.
Proper Lifting, Loading & Handling Techniques
If a worker’s tasks involve manual handling operations like lifting, loading, or handling heavy objects, then employers need to seriously consider the health risks related to such work activities.
Proper manual handling practices must be followed while undertaking any such work. The right posture while loading or lifting must be followed. These small tips can help avoid big problems.
Proper Staff Training
Adequate training sessions also play a crucial role in avoiding and minimizing risks. Employers must identify the training needs of the staff and team members within their workplace to provide them with proper training to adopt safe working practices.
These include working-from-home training, workplace stress training, manual handling training, mental health training, sickness absence training, harassment training, violence and aggression training, and more such essential courses.
Identify the Early Sings
Employers within any work environment should focus on proactive approaches than reactive ones. This is one of the effective things to create a safe and sound workplace. so, this is the case while working with devices or equipment where there is a high chance of ergonomic hazards.
Identifying the early signs of the problem like fatigue, stress, sprain, or other injuries help employers and managers implement strategies the minimize the risks.
Improve Work Policies & Procedures
Some of the examples to improve workplace policies and procedures are:
- Job rotation helps workers avoid injuries occurring as a result of demanding work
- Increasing the number of staff can help reduce the workload
- Using the right machinery and equipment can help complete the job safely and efficiently
- Improving the work schedule can help minimize the long working hours and so reduces the stress
- Following good housekeeping practices can help control and mitigate the workplace hazards like slips, trips, or falls injuries
Workplace hazards can occur in any work environment and at any time. The employers and senior management must have the right approaches with adequate tools, equipment, and proper training sessions to help reduce health risks and create a safe and productive workplace for everyone to live and work in.
This post has covered some of the ways to control and minimize ergonomic health risks at work.