Posted by: ugleepen | October 20, 2014

Don’t Pull That Muscle! Ergonomic Tips for the Workplace

Ergonomic TipsWhether your workplace is an assembly line or a computer desk, you are at risk for injury if you are not aware of the ergonomic principles involved with what your job requires you to do.

Your muscles and your joints are vulnerable to stress-related injuries.  Below are tips on how to stay safe in your workplace:

1. When lifting, the largest muscles in the area should perform the task. The larger the muscle or muscle group used for lifting, the lower the stress placed on smaller, more vulnerable muscles.

2. During any work activity, you should be able to comfortably assume a number of different postures and not remain in one position for an extended time.

Muscles will fatigue and be more prone to injury when assuming a particular posture, especially a poor one such as being partially bent forward at the waist.

When performing tasks it is important to keep the joints either in their neutral posture or approximately halfway into the range of motion.

3. Working with your joints at the extremes of their ranges of motion for prolonged periods places abnormal stresses on them and can cause repetitive stress injuries.

4. Stand up and stretch your legs with a short walk about every 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Take micro-breaks often, stretching your neck, arms and wrists, back and legs. Simple stretches include neck rotations, fist clenches, arm dangles and shoulder shrugs.

6. When lifting from the floor, keep your back straight and lift with the legs.

Do not bend over at the waist and lift with the muscles of the low back. Your body is more easily injured in this position.

Keep the object being lifted close to your body. Keep your elbows flexed. Keep your head up and your neck straight as you lift.

7. Don’t move the computer mouse with just your wrist. Use your entire arm and shoulder. Don’t rest your arm on the edge of the desk while manipulating the mouse. Hold the mouse loosely.

Keep your wrist relaxed. Don’t hold it up or down; instead, hold it in a neutral (straight) position Move away from the mouse several times per hour and move your wrists, arms, and shoulders around.

Source: Dr. LeiLani Vidal, Better Health and Wellness Center/ Poway, CA

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