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Ergo-Safety: 4 Ergonomic Items to Bring Peace of Mind to the Office

Ergo-Safety: 4 Ergonomic Items to Bring Peace of Mind to the Office

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

4 Ergonomic Items to Bring Peace of Mind to the Office

Sedentary lifestyle can explain, in part, how modernity is associated with obesity, more than 30 chronic diseases and conditions and high healthcare costs.” NCBI

Sitting and staring at a computer screen all day can be detrimental to your health and well-being, but what if your job requires it? Savvy office managers are beginning to implement ergonomic solutions to help employees not only be healthier, but also more productive.

Read on to discover 4 ergonomic office items that will keep your body healthy and your work day more productive.

1. Ergonomic Office Chair

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Long office hours hunched over the computer can lead to bad posture, back pain, and neck stiffness. Invest in an ergonomic chair specifically created with the human anatomy in mind.

Most ergo chairs come with a breathable mesh to allow your body to cool and you can adjust the armrest, headrest, seat tilt, and height.

2. Adjustable Monitor Stand

The adjustable monitor stand is a smaller and cheaper alternative to a standing desk. You don’t have to lift the entire desk – instead, you adjust the height of the computer monitor and sit or stand accordingly.

Monitor stands are great for laptops as well, because it’s harder to adjust laptop screens to your eye level without props.

3. Ergonomic Mouse and Mousepad

Your wrists are under a lot of pressure during the day as you handle the mouse and keyboard. After a while, you may start developing a carpal tunnel syndrome that will make your desk work even more painful.

An ergo mouse and a mousepad should be crucial parts of your ergonomic office, especially if you spend more than four hours a day in front of a screen. Consider a vertical mouse or split keyboard.

4. Ergonomic Footrest

Spending hours at your desk with your legs hanging down can lead to poor blood circulation, varicose veins, and weakened leg muscles.

An ergonomic footrest is a simple, affordable solution to this problem that will keep your legs elevated to prevent swelling and knee pain. Plus, it will make your desk work more comfortable.

In conclusion

Working at a desk for eight hours a day can take a toll on your health, especially your back, neck, and knees. More companies have been investing in their workers by replacing their outdated office furniture with ergonomic office equipment and performing ergonomic assessments as needed.

To keep up with the newest trends in the ergonomics industry and discover new ergo office products,  we recommend contacting SolutionsNW.com, a leader in the ergonomics field, for more information.

Subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland. 

An Ergonomics Approach to Avoiding Office Workplace Illness and Injury

An Ergonomics Approach to Avoiding Office Workplace Illness and Injury

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

“33% of work related injuries are musculoskeletal disorders, like carpal tunnel and back strains” https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/

Workplace injuries cost a lot of time and money, but did you know that 33% of those injuries are musculoskeletal disorders, like carpal tunnel and back strains? While you can’t prevent every injury, you can lower the prevalence in your company.

Creating an ergonomic workplace can reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders while leaving your workers happier and more productive.

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What is Ergonomics?

In short, ergonomics is the process of creating an environment that increases productivity and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs affect muscles, nerves, tendons, and joints. They occur or are worsened due to repeated movements or stress on the body.

For example, employees who demonstrate bad posture all day may end up with muscle strains resulting in back or neck pain. Not only may they need to take time off work, but they may also be less productive at work because they’re in pain.

However, by designing an ergonomic workplace, you could help your employees reduce their risk for developing MSDs keeping them happy, healthy, and productive.

Now that you know what ergonomics is, let’s talk about how you can use it in your office.

Invest in Quality Office Equipment

If you’ve ever sat in an uncomfortable chair, you’ll know how it can quickly get uncomfortable and even painful. To avoid this in your company, invest in quality chairs for your employees.

These should have adjustable armrests, height, and lumbar support, so your employees can find the right setting for them. The backs of the chairs should also keep that natural “S” shape to fully support the spine, and the angle between the seat and backrest should allow you to comfortably sit up straight without pushing your forward.

When you bring new employees on, consider showing them how to adjust the different features of their chair and offer information on the importance of good posture at work. 

While investing in good chairs is a big step, it’s not the only thing that has to be done to create an ergonomic work environment. You can further prevent against back, neck, and wrist strains by offering additional ergonomic solutions for those who need it.

For example, your employees’ feet should always touch the ground when they sit. You can offer footrests to your shorter employees to help them improve their posture and stay comfortable at work.

Keyboard wrist rests are also a great idea. They take the weight off your wrists and offer support to prevent strains.

Invest in an Ergonomics Assessment

Don’t let your employees suffer MSDs on your watch. Ergonomics consultants have studied this topic robustly, it may be wise to invest in an ergonomics assessment for your workplace to see a difference in the productivity and health of your employees.

In the same way you must invest in proper equipment, you or your office manager should invest in a proper ergonomics assessment.

An ergonomics expert will see what you couldn’t see, as well as offer custom plans for your workplace. In the long run, this investment will pay off as you will see higher productivity and less injury in your workplace.

In conclusion

If you don’t invest in the safety of your workers, you will lose money in the long run. If you’re seeking out ergonomics solutions to your office work place, you’ve already taken the first step.

For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

Always Clean Your Spills at Work

Always Clean Your Spills at Work

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and Arcata California)

Ergonomics Tips: Always Clean Spills at Work to Avoid Slip and Fall Injury

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most general industry incidents involve slips, trips, and falls. 

We’ve all had our clumsy spills in the office, but it’s important to understand that cleaning a spill is serious business. It may be tempting to leave the small spill for the janitor to find, but that small spill could lead to a major slip and fall injury.

According to the National Safety Council (2011), “research finds that ‘fall from the same level injury’ is one of the highest injury causes” in the workplace.

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Stay proactive at the office

Always clean up spills that you see, even if it wasn’t your fault. Stay proactive, clean all spills immediately, and post proper hazard signs on wet surfaces that are being cleaned to prevent slips.

Also, be mindful that not all slips will come from spilt beverages, so it is important to keep an eye out for them while you walk around the office.

For example, wet floors from rain, exposed cords, unstable work surfaces, uneven floors, loose rugs, cluttered areas, or even dusty areas may cause employees to slip and injure themselves.

To prevent tripping, be sure not to allow any clutter (like boxes) to enter any walking paths of the office. Be sure that all tripping hazards like phone or electrical cables are properly installed and tucked away.

Make sure your HR Department has an office safety plan

OSHA mandates that employers shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards, so make sure your Human Resources department has developed an office safety plan.

Every office safety plan should be reviewed annually and updated whenever changes in procedures or the office environment could create new hazards or impact existing ones.

Additionally, posting reminders near food and drink stations is a great idea.

In conclusion, stay educated.

Stay educated by researching common office safety hazards to help prevent work related injuries. To learn more about work safety issues, visit us at SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

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3 Reasons Every Workplace Needs an Ergonomics Assessment

3 Reasons Every Workplace Needs an Ergonomics Assessment

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

 

Ergonomics: “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely, called also biotechnology, human engineering, human factors, ergonomic” as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Whether you work in an industrial warehouse or an office, every workplace should have an ergonomics assessment done. An ergonomics assessment (sometimes referred to as workstation assessments) will ensure that your office is not only safer to work in, but more productive and more efficient as well.

An ergonomics assessment is designed to lower risk of injury and improve employee productivity by ensuring that a worker’s workspace is ergonomically sound.

Below are just a few of the many reasons every workplace needs an ergonomics assessment:

1. An ergonomics assessment will save your company money in the long run.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

While it may be tempting to save money by not using an expert to assess your workstation, it will pay off in the long run.  Businesses will save money when there is less workplace injury, less compensation claims, more efficient workers, and lower insurance.

According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, “on average an ergonomics assessment will pay for itself in about 8.4 months.”

2. Productivity and the quality of your product will improve.

An ergonomics assessment of a workstation will allow employees to work faster with less effort. Proper posture, fewer motions, less difficult reaches, and less exertion means efficient employees and a higher quality product.

 “Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

3. Your employees will love you for it!

Employees will appreciate the effort that your company invests into ensuring that they have a healthy, safe, and productive workplace. Employees perform their tasks every day, so they know when certain injuries or pains could have been prevented by proper equipment and a proper ergonomic assessment.

You may even receive a spike in productivity from their happiness alone. According to the University of Warwick, “happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.”

In conclusion

An ergonomics assessment not only ensures a safer work place, but also improves productivity and creates a positive work environment filled with happy workers.  If the cost is an issue, keep in mind that investing in a better work environment for your employees will pay off in the long run.

For more professional, ergonomics guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

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Ergonomics Tips: 4 Tips to use Your Mouse in Comfort

Ergonomics Tips: 4 Tips to use Your Mouse in Comfort

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: 4 Tips to use Your Mouse in Comfort

Ergonomics Tips: How to use your mouse in comfort
“Evidence suggests that about 3% of women and 2% of men will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome during their lifetime…” – The New York Times 

No matter how well a workstation is set up, repetitive work with a mouse may still lead to workplace injury if you do not properly care for your hand.

Whether you work in an office or need to use a mouse for industrial or retail work, you’ve noticed that overusing the mouse doesn’t feel very good. But if your job requires you to use a mouse, then what are your options to avoid pain or workplace injuries such as repetitive stress injury (RSI)?

Be sure you’re placing your hand on the mouse properlyErgonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Injury can often occur when one doesn’t properly use a work tool. When using the mouse, it is important to keep the wrist and hand in a neutral position. The picture of the hand positioned in good form below reduces your risk of developing a cumulative trauma injury:

Don’t grip the mouse too tight

Improper grip puts you at risk for cumulative trauma injuries. When you are involved in prolonged or repetitive activities at your workstation, keeping the mouse gripped in your hand the whole time contracts the muscles without a break. Be sure to give your grip a break and grip the mouse softly, like it is a raw egg that you don’t want to crack.

Learn some stretches for your mouse hand

Beyond taking breaks every 10 minutes or so, try to break up the repetition with these 3 stretches our ergonomics experts have collected from the CCOHS:

how to grip a mouse ergonomics

1. Fist Stretch

Begin with your open hand (exhibit a) and make a fist with your thumb straight and not tucked under your fingers (exhibit b). Then, (exhibit c) slide your fingertips up the palm of your hand. Move the tips of your fingers to the base of your fingers and you should feel a stretch. Do not force this movement if something is painful.
Fist Stretch - Mouse

2. Prayer Hands

Sitting with your elbows on the desk and palms in prayer position, slowly lower your wrists to the table until you feel a stretch. Keep your palms together throughout the stretch. Hold 5 to 7 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
Prayer Hand Stretch - Mouse

3. Wrist Bend

Grab your hand and hold your fingers, begin to slowly bend your wrist down until you feel the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times. Next, slowly bend your wrist up until you feel the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
Wrist Bend Stretch - Mouse

Consider a Trackball Mouse

Another option is the ambidextrous trackball mouse. A trackball mouse, unlike a regular mouse, remains stationary and has a ball on its top or side. In addition to the ball, a trackball commonly has one or more buttons that work like mouse buttons. At Solutions Northwest Inc., we recommend trackballs with a ball in the center rather than the side to minimize the risk of thumb tendonitis. Read the guide about trackball mouse options on our blog.

In conclusion

Whatever you do, always remain proactive about your health in the workplace. Hopefully these ergonomics tips can help keep your workplace a safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Kent, Renton, Arcadia, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

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Ergonomics Tips: Computer Glasses for Office Workers

Ergonomics Tips: Computer Glasses for Office Workers

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)Ergonomics Tips: Computer Glasses for Office Work“Americans (aged 16-44) spend 7.4 hours staring at screens every day.”Internet Trends report

You may have never heard computer glasses, but with so many jobs requiring workers to stare at screens, products like computer glasses have started to gain interest among office workers and in industries that require a lot of screen time.  Jobs that require a lot of computer, tablet, or phone screen time may cause workers to experience eyestrain or eye fatigue, which is often associated with headaches, neck or back pain, sensitivity to light, dry or red eyes.

With digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome being so common in today’s work place, should you or your employees consider using computer glasses?
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What are computer glasses?

Computer glasses look just like regular glasses and are usually around the $50 to $100 price range.

Unlike regular glasses, computer glasses are designed specifically to reduce eye strain associated with staring at a screen. Computer glasses are made with an anti-reflective coating to reduce screen glare and harsh light. Most of these glasses will also filter the blue light that your computer screen emits. Filtering blue light should reduce negative symptoms of staring at a screen.

Potential benefits of computer glasses

Computer glasses should make it easier to do your daily computer work. Feeling headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, dry eyes, or even neck and shoulder pain can be reduced. In fact, your posture may improve as well because you won’t have to hunch closer to the screen as much.

What if computer glasses aren’t for you?

If you try computer glasses and don’t notice any benefit, then you may want to consider doing some eye exercises instead. Eyes can be exercised to increase strength of focusing and convergence ability, build stamina, and enable you to change focus faster. Check out these 4 Simple Eye Exercises you can do at work: http://www.solutionsnw.com/2017/04/29/4-eye-exercises-rest-eyes-work/

Additionally, you can try adjusting your screen to a more comfortable setting or just taking frequent breaks at work.

In conclusion

Remember to always consult with your doctor to rule out a possible underlying cause of pain. Whether you decide to try computer glasses or do eye exercises, remain proactive to prevent workplace injuries.

Hopefully these ergonomics tips can help you avoid digital eye strain and any other negative effects that staring at a screen may cause. Be sure to share these tips with the rest office workers or employees. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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