Around two million work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) occur yearly in the United States alone (
source). Many of these are caused by ergonomic work-related injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome alone,
tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains, and low back injuries due to risk factors like high task
repetition, forceful exertions, and repetitive awkward postures. Ergonomics in the workplace help ensure that
objects and movements are comfortable and safe for all employees.
Conduct regular ergonomic safety inspections to reduce work-related injuries and improve quality of work-life
and employees’ productivity.
General Ways to Prevent Ergonomic Hazards
Ergonomic hazards can be prevented by following these safety measures:
- Redesign workstations to eliminate awkward postures.
- Provide adjustable equipments that can be used by workers to allow neutral postures.
- Maintain good body posture.
When transporting and handling
- Be knowledgeable on body limitations.
- Provide carts for transporting materials to eliminate lifting.
- Require all loads to be labeled with their weight.
- When lifting, keep your back straight and lift with your legs.
- Assign two or more staff to lift heavy objects depending on weight.
- Lift slowly and carefully.
- Don’t twist or turn your spine while carrying the load.
- Use shoulder pads to cushion loads carried on the shoulder.
- Use knee pads for kneeling tasks.
- Store materials at waist height to minimize reaching.
- Design containers with handles for easy gripping.
Staff scheduling and training
- Rotate workers among different tasks to avoid repetitive movement.
- Improve work schedule to minimize excessive overtime that causes fatigue.
- Increase staff to reduce individual workloads.
- Provide sufficient employee breaks.
- Adequate recovery time can reduce fatigue.
- Provide workers with training on ergonomics policies and procedures.
- Follow good housekeeping practices.
- Keep floors free of obstruction.
- Use tools in good condition that fits the hand.
- Properly maintain power tools to reduce exposure to vibration.
- Use gloves to protect against vibration and rough surfaces.
- Always practice proper machine handling.