Aches and Pains? Here’s How Ergonomics Can Help

Office-based employees may commonly see various implements for making our day-to-day tasks more ergonomically friendly, such as phone cradles, odd-shaped keyboards, and cushions on mouse pads. Even for workers in a factory setting or out in the field, many vital pieces of equipment are adapted to keep their human user healthy. But unless you have an ergonomics expert in your office, there may be missed opportunities for these adaptive elements to improve your daily life. 

Feeling the ache? Inspect your work setup

With the average person spending most of their day in a work environment, it’s likely that most aches and pains will come from what a person does for a living. If you find yourself with a persistent pain in your joints, hips, or back, take a moment to evaluate your work station. 

If you sit for most of the day, make sure your chair and desk are level so you can sit with your joints at 90 degree angles. Keep wrists straight and not bent while you work. Don’t lean too much on your elbows or rest your chin on your hands. If your tasks require you to bend your joints at odd angles, make sure to take regular breaks. 

On your feet all day? Invest in quality insoles for your shoes. These will make a huge difference for your lower back and hips! Stand with your weight distributed evenly between both feet, never leaning on one or the other leg for too long. 

Train for physically exerting tasks regularly

If you are doing physical work as part of your regular work tasks, ergonomics are especially important to protect your most valuable asset- your health! Just like an athlete, you may have a need for additional training for these tasks, which you shouldn’t take lightly! Using improper form for strenuous tasks can do immediate AND long-term damage to your back and joints. Sometimes these conditions get so bad you’ll need surgery! 

Don’t allow your work tasks to impact your health. If it’s been a while since you were trained on equipment or a certain element of your job, talk with supervisors about having an ergonomics refresher for those specific tasks. In the meantime, there are some helpful resources below to keep ergonomics in mind all year long. 

Resources

Ergonomics Awareness Training for Employees (PDF)

https://www.hfes.org/Events/National-Ergonomics-Month