Back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries. It is often caused by every-day work activities such as sitting in an office chair for too long, or heavy lifting in a warehouse. Applying ergonomic principles – the study of the workplace as it relates to the worker – can help reduce or even prevent work-related injury and help maintain a healthy back.
The goal of an ergonomics program in industry is to adapt the ergonomic workplace to a specific worker, dependent on the job description, required tasks and physical make up of the employee performing those tasks. Two types of situations typically cause people to begin having back pain or to sustain a back injury while on the job.
Non-accidental injury, where pain arises as a result of normal activities and requirements of the task. Poor body mechanics (such as slouching in an office chair), prolonged activity, repetitive motions, and fatigue are major contributors to these injuries. This may occur from sitting in an office chair or standing for too long in one position.
Accidental injury results when an unexpected event triggers injury during the task. A load that slips or shifts as it is being lifted, and a slip and fall or hitting ones head on a cabinet door are typical examples. These accidents can jolt the neck, back and other joints with resulting muscle strain or tearing of soft tissue in the back.
It is a fact that repeat use of the computer keyboard and/or mouse is the main cause of Repetitive Stress Injuries (or Repetitive Strain Injuries).
How can you improve workplace to make computer activity more comfortable and productive for workers?
Educate good work habits
Consider voice-recognition software.