What is ergonomics? Ergonomics is fitting a job’s processes to the person. It helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity, and reduces the
number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) workers compensation claims. Some examples of MSDs are carpal tunnel, tendinitis, muscle strains, and back injuries. Work-related MSDs are one of the leading causes of lost workday injuries and illness.
How does ergonomics impact office employees? Office employees tend to sit for long periods of time looking at computer screens. Contact with sharp edges (such as a desk edge), forearm strain from improper posture in relationship to the keyboard, neck injury from tilting the head one way or
another, back injury/fatigue from sitting incorrectly, and knee and leg problems due to the height of the chair are a few examples of potential
ergonomic issues that can cause loss of productivity and result in workers compensation claims.
What are the solutions to the above ergonomic hazards? Let’s start with the seat itself. Chairs should be ergonomically designed (and many are these days). This means the chair should be able to move up or down with ease so that the employee’s feet stay in contact with the floor. In addition, the chair should have lumbar support to help reduce back problems. The arm rests should be padded to reduce forearm strain. The desk should have rounded edges and/or padded edges. The computer monitor should be at a 15- to 20- degree viewing angle. To reduce eye strain, the monitor should be at a
distance of 15 to 30 inches away from the employee. Generally, the office employee should stand and move around at least every hour to hour and a half.
If employees are comfortable, they are more productive. If they are more productive it will positively impact the bottom line. Absenteeism will
improve, and there will be less risk of re-injury leading to workers compensation claims. An ergonomically designed work station for office
employees can result in an increase in worker morale, productivity, and your profits.
Senior Loss Control Representative