While working all day at a computer doesn’t expose employees to the types of serious hazards found on a construction site, poor office ergonomics can nevertheless result in significant worker injuries.
From carpal tunnel syndrome to chronic low back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), workers whose primary tasks involve long hours of computer work are vulnerable to an array of injuries. Aside from the pain and suffering such injuries cause, these slow-to-heal ailments can result in expensive compensation claims and lost productivity for employers. As the American Industrial Hygiene Association explains:
Working Americans spend about 2,000 hours per year in the workplace. All of these hours can take a toll on your eyes, back, arms, and neck.
Exposure to adverse working conditions can result in momentary pain or long-term injury. Moreover, poorly designed working environments contribute to reduced efficiency, decreased production, loss of income, increased medical claims and permanent disability.
If your company employs office workers, or if you need to re-evaluate your own work space, OSHA offers a tool that can help. Its Computer Workstations eTool, “…illustrates simple, inexpensive principles that will help you create a safe and comfortable computer workstation.” This interactive resource trains on good ergonomic practices such as:
- Ensuring the top of your monitor is at or just below eye level
- Keeping your head and neck balanced and in-line with torso when seated at your computer
- Keeping shoulders relaxed
- Elbows should be close to body and supported
- The lower back should be supported
- Keeping wrists and hands in-line with forearms
- Making adequate room on the desk for the keyboard and mouse
- Adjusting your chair height to keep feet flat on the floor
In addition to the eTool, OSHA’s Ergonomics web area offers resources and links to specific ergonomic safety guidelines for a variety of industries.
Help avoid MSDs in your workplace by training your staff on best ergonomic practices with office safety and ergonomics courses from Summit and CLMI:
Office Ergonomics Today
This course uses a broad range of office situations and computer usage habits to teach workers how to reduce stress and injury caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks.
Making It Fit: Improving Our Office Comfort
This program covers ergonomics in the office environment and how to avoid the fatigue, strain and stress that can result from a poor office setup.
Principles of Office Ergonomics
Focusing on ergonomically correct body positions, this program offers solutions for how to compensate for workstation limitations and create a healthier and stress-free work environment for your employees.
For more on HSI’s workplace safety training solutions, visit our website.