Musculoskeletal pain and disorders are common among office workers and can result in more frequent absenteeism and reductions in productivity. Maintaining a healthy, safe and productive office environment requires designing workspaces to allow each employee to work comfortably and without awkward postures (such as craning the neck forward or tilting the head to the side) or the use of computer input devices (keyboard and mouse) for long periods without breaks.
Ergonomics – commonly referred to as “fitting the work to the worker” – is a science that seeks to optimize the relationship between people and their work environment. In an office setting, ergonomics principles can be used to improve the physical “fit” between each employee and his/her computer workstation. A qualified ergonomist can also work with employers and employees to explore organizational and psychosocial factors that may also contribute to musculoskeletal discomfort, such as the design of specific tasks and occupational stress.
Effective and successful ergonomics programs involve employees throughout the entire process, from identification of the problem to the development and implementation of solutions. A participatory approach gives employees a voice in the discussion and planning of workplace changes and may promote greater acceptance of potential solutions.
Ergonomics: Did you know that almost 1 in 3 non-fatal work injuries reported are related to soft tissue musculoskeletal disorders? Dr. Nathan Fethke, HWCE Deputy Director and Certified Ergonomist, provides a brief overview of ergonomics with strategies that could provide a better working experience for employees and potentially lower their risks for chronic musculoskeletal health outcomes.
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