How Ergonomics Can Prevent Work-Related Health Problems?

Ergonomics at work
A sedentary lifestyle comes with its caveats of sitting and lying down for a long time with little or no movement. Since this is the exact opposite of exercise, it is not at all healthy. Some of the examples are long-haul drivers, people who work on computers, and desk jobs like call center operators, programmers, accountants, and receptionists.
It is reported that more than 60% of the adult population in the U.S. do not engage in the recommended amount of physical activity and approximately, 25% of the adults are not active at all.
After continuously sitting for approximately, 30 minutes, your body’s metabolism slows down to as much as 90% and the muscles of your lower body start to shut down from the lack of usage. If that is the case, good ergonomics could be a crucial part of your physical and mental health.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the study of people at work that aims to reduce the physical stress and injuries associated with working in a sedentary lifestyle. This includes overuse injuries, poor posture, and more serious musculoskeletal disorders in long term. Ergonomics is all about planning and designing workplaces, products, tools, systems, and other types of equipment that help maintain the physical health of workers.
Ergonomic Workspace Setup Includes:
Desk Setup
Having the best ergonomic desk setup is very important if you are going to work on a computer or at least on a desk all day. Your desk must have enough clearance space for your feet, thighs, and knees. You can also invest in an adjustable desk that allows you to either sit down or stand up if you so choose.
Comfortable Chair
One of the best ways to give yourself a better ergonomic setup is to find the right chair for you. Find a chair that supports your spine and is adjustable. Specifically, the seat height and the armrests should be adjustable so that you can adjust the chair to a certain height that allows you to align the top of the monitor at your eye level.
Your computer monitor must be directly in front of you and within an arm’s reach. The top of the screen must be at your eye level to avoid neck pain. Additionally, to protect your eyes, make sure that the brightest light source comes from somewhere off to the side rather than the monitor itself.
Keyboard and Mouse
Both your keyboard and mouse should be on the same surface within close reach. When using both items, be sure to keep your wrists straight while your upper arms are close to you, maintaining your elbow at a 90° angle. To ensure that you are not using your mouse a lot, consider using keyboard shortcuts for certain tasks like select, copy, and paste to avoid repetition.
Standing Workstation
Your standing workstation desk must be tailored to your body height so that you can prevent your body from hunching forward and your wrists/hands from being placed higher than your elbows at the keyboard.
For example: consider using a drafting desk and drafting chairs. They are adjustable and the drafting chair can give you ergonomic back support. The chair should have a swivel, and wheels for maneuverability.
Good ergonomics should also include:
  • For every 30-60 minutes, stand up and stretch for a couple of minutes
  • Take a short walk if your breaks are lengthy (like 15 to 30 minutes)
  • Look away from your screen from time to time to prevent eye strain and headaches
  • Consider a workout schedule where you can do 30 minutes of workout for 3 days per week.
Poor ergonomics can and will lead to short-term and long-term health issues. To prevent such work-related problems and lead a healthy life, please follow the above steps.
To achieve good ergonomics, first, assess your workspace setup. Check if your monitor, keyboard, mouse, desk, and chair are in proper setup. If your answer is “No,” then you need to make the required changes to minimize or avoid short and long-term work-related health issues. To get the best ergonomic advice (more suitable for you), contact an orthopedic specialist.
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