Office work desks are usually equipped with varieties of work tools especially computer, keyboard, mouse, files, printer, stamping machine, file tray, and much. The use of computers or laptops has significantly increased in this digital world. Every task has been simplified in the offices through the use of computers. However, everything that advantage must also have its disadvantage. Employees are prone to a number of injuries associated with the use of computers or other pieces of office equipment used on work desks.
Many people do spend prolonged hours daily sitting with their desktops without weighing its effects on their body. Many workers are in the habits of stressing their bodies physically without bothering to stretch some vital body parts such as hands, wrists, and as well as supporting their foot with footrest, maintaining good postures, sitting on an ergonomic chair, using height adjustable desk, etc.
For instance, a condition referred to as repetitive strain injury has been linked to repetitive motion due to typing or use of computers and as well as sitting in one position or at work desk for an extended period (say like 8 hours). This results in significant pain and injury to wrists, arms, fingers, and elbows. These resulted injuries seem simple but can be extremely painful, and everyone involved in the office is at risk of sustaining these injuries.
In some cases, some workers have been forced to leave their jobs to prevent themselves from permanent injuries or being disabled. Fortunately, almost all these musculoskeletal injuries can be prevented from happening through many means of ergonomics intervention in terms of office resources, training, and education. Ergo Office Depot wants to use this post to discuss how you can use desktop ergonomics to prevent injuries at the workplace. Proceed to discover.
How to Prevent Injuries at Work Desk
Many desktop activities such as writing, typing, attending to files, amongst others are usually performed while sitting down – 8 hours a day and continuously for days, weeks, months, and years. These practices cumulatively can cause repetitive stress injuries or trauma disorders; some conditions that create a prolonged impact on health. These health problems have been connected to symptoms such as muscle fatigue, pain, tingling, loss of sensation, and inefficiency at work. This ergonomics focuses on preventing and reducing fatigue, injuries, and strain by improving office equipment designs and workspace setup or arrangement.
It aims to provide comfortable, relaxed postures while working. However, before applying any of the following practices, it is assumed that your office has been ergonomically equipped with the right office equipment such as office desks, ergonomics chairs, adjustable work tables, and office accessories. Below are desktop ergonomics tricks to prevent injuries at workspace:
The first approach to desktop ergonomics is the arrangement of each workstation according to job tasks and employees sizes to provide comfortable postures while performing the task. There is no fit-all setup when it comes to workstation arrangement. Every time you work at your workstation, ensure you adjust it to suit your size and make you comfortable to reduce awkward movement. You can invite a professional ergonomist to do this if need be.
Ergonomically, laptop computers are not designed for a long time use due to the way they are designed. However, their uses in the offices are taking over the scene. Unlike a desktop computer, the keyboard and monitor, and as well as the mouse are closely designed together; hence, both monitor and keyboard cannot be in good position for the use at the same time. If you want to use a laptop for a long time, adapt it for a more comfortable and relaxed position by separating the monitor and keyboard. Use an external keyboard and ergonomically place the laptop so that the screen top is set at eye level. The external keyboard should be strategically placed to allow your elbows to rest at an angle 900. You can check this set up for the purpose.
Adjust Your Body Mechanics
Mount your workstation and adjust your body size to fit properly into it to avoid bending or tilting during typing. You expected to type without too much strokes to keep your muscles relaxed since you are using it for prolonged periods. A comfortable and healthy posture for work is to sit straight with your hips, shoulders, and ears aligning. Test run your posture by performing these tasks – sit and think about being taller an inch more. Make a move to switch your hands as if you are using a mouse. Analyze how you feel to know if you need further modification to your posture. It is advisable to completely rest your wrists whenever you have breaks and ensure you remove your hands from the mouse during breaks.
The scope is that natural body mechanics modification is vital to preventing many desktop injuries such as neck pain, back pain, and strain problems. Your head level should align with the torso while you are relaxing. Ensure an adequate feet support by floor or if your feet do not torch floor, support your feet with a footrest. Prevent back pain by supporting your back by lumbar support while hips and thighs are supported by full-padded seat to ensure they are parallel to the floor. Also, your knees should be at equal height with your hips by positioning your feet slightly forward.
Exercise at your Workstation
There are a series of exercises you can do at your workstation to prevent injuries. Each body parts involved in performing one task or the other on the work desk and the chair has its own exercise to prevent associated injuries. Let's outline each exercise as required by each body part:
Neck and shoulders are indirectly active in working on desk and chair. Below is a list of exercises for these parts.
Shoulder Rotation: Perform a simple rotation task by circling your shoulders while you are sitting, and reverse the process in the opposite direction.
Neck rotation: Rotate your head to both left and right comfortably. This exercise should be performed slowly for best result.
Shrug: Gently raise the two shoulders towards ears and sustain for few seconds. Then, drop the shoulders gradually to relax.
Retraction: Pull your shoulders back and down for few strokes.
Head side to side: This involves bending your neck to torch your ears aiming to offer a little resistance.
The arms undergo much repetitive motion during typing and other works on a desk. Hence, it must be subjected to some exercises to play safe from related injuries.
Arm Rotation: Stretch your arms forward and rotate them with your two palms facing up, then also rotate in such a way that the backs of hands are directly facing each other.
Arm Relaxation: This involves dropping your hands and arms to your sides. Slowly shake them at that position for a few seconds.
Prolonged sitting tells on your back and can result in severe back pain and other related health problems. While reducing the number of hours you spend on a seat to prevent back pain, exercising your back after some hours of sitting can also help you. Do the following:
Stretching: Stretch up your back by sitting up and have a feeling of a cable tied to the top. Try to stretch yourself towards the imaginary cable as tall as possible and sustain for about 5 – 7 seconds and then, relax.
Shoulder Squeeze: Stretch your hands forward, and thump up with your elbows bent. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades tight and pull elbows back; sustain this for a few seconds and relax.
Hands/wrists are parts of the body that suffer mostly during office sitting task especially typing and writing. The parts are involved in repetitive motion. To avoid injuries associated with the repetitive motion of hands/wrists, you need to exercise these parts:
Wrist Flex: Flex your wrists with your elbows rest on the desk, and then use your right hand to bend the left hand back towards forearm gently; sustain this for some seconds and relax. Reverse the process.
Finger Fan: Open your fingers and stretch them afar to form fan shape, hold it for a while, then clench fists and relax.
Other parts of the body to exercise include:
Eye Rolls: Briefly roll your eyes clockwise simultaneously and then reverse to the direction.
Look Away: Periodically exercise your eyes by looking away from your monitor screen and focus on something different to let your eyes travel far.
Adjust your Work Patterns
Rotating your task or work pattern is another way of reducing prolonged time spent on computer or desk. You can achieve this by breaking down your work into segments and swap your tasks with different motions. For instance, you can switch between typing and reading or writing; just to alternate the motion.
Try to move your body periodically to build stamina, improve circulation, prevent joints, and reduce fatigues. Movement after sitting for a long time has been studied to benefit the body and prevent injuries at work. A study suggests that moving at least every 30 to 60 minutes of sitting is good for the body. A brief break of about 2 to 5 minutes is essential to stretch your body or work around.
Preventing injuries in the workplace is a responsibility of everyone – both employer and employees. There are many injuries linked to the use of desktop related tasks; hence, it is vital to proffer means of preventing these injuries as much as possible. The above-discussed desktop ergonomics have cleared the air on how to prevent these injuries. Every point is important and should be taken seriously to achieve this goal. Stay tuned for more informative posts from this page!
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