“Adapting tasks, workstations, tools, and equipment to fit the worker can help reduce physical stress on a worker’s body and eliminate many potentially serious, disabling work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).” – OSHA
No matter where you work, your computer-centric job could pose serious risk factors from an ergonomics perspective.
Here are our top 5 risk factors you didn’t realize your job had.
1. Insufficient work breaks.
Without sufficient breaks, your posture can take a hit and have immediate effects on your health. It’s easy to get lost in a task and find yourself slouching with sore shoulders hours later.
This is particularly true for those who complete work on computers. Classic desk jobs require hyper-focus on screens, which correlates with less movement throughout the day.
If you have a labor-focused job in comparison, you are more likely to have risks related to unsafe methods of labor vs. unsafe posture. Combat this by setting a timer to take a break every half hour, at least.
On your breaks, be sure to get out of your chair and take a quick walk. This can be as simple as walking to the water cooler or even to a coworker across the room. Any break like this can help reset your posture and refresh your mind as well.
2. Watch for the risk factors of your desk and workstation.
Posture-related risk factors are not the only risk of a desk job. While you can control your posture or train yourself not to slouch, sometimes your physical desk space is not equipped for ergonomic health.
One simple fix is learning how to properly set up your
computer’s monitor. For details, read our blog on how
to set up your computer monitor.
Properly setting up your workstation can be complicated, consider consulting an ergonomics consultant to have an evaluation and ergonomics assessment.
3. Protect your eyes from digital eye strain.
Prolonged vision issues can arise from constant computer and tablet use. The average American worker spends seven hours a day on a computer.
You may notice that working on a digital device close to bedtime can result in low quality of sleep as well.
You may be unable to cut down on the hours you spend on a digital device. However, you can minimize the risk for your eyes.
Take frequent breaks and consider the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20-second break in which you look at a location 20 feet away every 20 minutes. This will help protect your eyes every day.
4. Unsafe lifting at work can lead to injury.
One obvious risk of a labor job is related to unsafe lifting. Lifting from your back, instead of your core and feet, can result in job-related injuries and long-term pain.
Be sure to follow any safety procedures and training your job provides. It’s important to ask for help and put your health first, as ignoring this can result in a shorter career as well.
5. Cramped workplace can cause work injury.
If your desk is cramped or placed in a corner, your body will be under strain. No matter how best you optimize your space, a lack of space or tools can result in poor health.
Do your best to arrange a home office space with enough room
and install equipment with ergonomics in mind. If you work in an office, be
sure to collectively push for enough room between your desks to work in and
If you’re unsure of how to arrange your workstation, contact an ergonomics company to evaluate your workstation and provide an ergonomics assessment.
In conclusion, stay proactive to combat workplace injury.
In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 1/3 of reported days-away-from-work. While stress and occasional discomfort are unavoidable, minimizing ergonomic risk factors is essential.
Don’t risk your health while you work. Take frequent breaks throughout your workday, set up your desk for success, and avoid cramped spaces to stay on track for health longevity.
In fact, consider contacting our ergonomics consultants at Solutions Northwest Inc. for an ergonomics
assessment for your company.
Subscribe to our ergonomics blog to read more tips and tricks for keeping yourself healthy while you’re at work.
Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.