Tips to Prevent Workplace Injuries
Have you ever wanted to walk a little taller? Well, you might be able to if you’re more aware of your posture during work. Did you know that many musculoskeletal disorders can stem from your workspace? A healthy musculoskeletal system can improve your entire well-being.
You can feel better and work smarter with some simple health challenge activities, such as:
- Parking the car further away and walking to your destination;
- Take the stairs versus the elevator;
- Walk during your lunch break;
- While working, maintain proper posture at your desk at least for half the day.
Also, try using a pedometer and track at least 10,000 steps in one day. Having healthy bones and muscles starts with education and learning about musculoskeletal health. Here are some tools for your healthkit to help you become more aware of your bone, muscle, and joint health. These tools can help you manage existing conditions and avoid future problems, by improving your overall well-being.
“Stand up straight! Don’t slouch!” You’ve heard this growing up, right? What this means is that you need to make sure that you are sitting and standing with the correct posture.
Guide to posture in your workplace
The correct sitting position at your workstation is to sit up, with your back straight and shoulders rolled back. Always make sure you distribute your weight on both hips. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, and keep your knees even with your hips. It’s always nice to use a footstool, or you can keep your feet flat on the floor if you can.
If you are one of those people that always crosses your legs, try breaking that habit. If you notice you want to cross your legs, try sitting up straight instead. It’s not good to sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Make sure you get up and move around and then sit back down in your correct sitting position. At work, if you have a desk job, adjust your chair height and workstation so you can sit at a comfortable distance from your computer, and your back is upright. Also, make sure that your eyes are level with the computer screen so your neck and back aren’t hunched over.
The Correct Lifting Position
The correct lifting position before you lift a heavy object at work is to make sure that you have a firm grip and firm footing. To pick up an object that is lower than the level of your waist, keep your back straight and bend at your knees and hips. Do not bend forward at the waist with your knees straight. Also, try to avoid lifting heavy packages or objects above waist level. It’s always best to hold the packages close to your body with your arms bent, keeping your stomach muscles tight. When you lower the object, make sure that your feet are placed just like you lifted, tighten your stomach, and bend your hips and knees.
The Correct Driving Position
The correct driving position is important as well. Try using a back support lumbar roll at the curve of your back and keep your knees at the same level as your hips. Some cars have seat lumbar support; It’s important to make sure you adjust it so you feel the lumbar support in your back. It’s easy to hold the steering wheel tight, but you should keep your arms relaxed and avoid gripping the wheel too tight.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Your musculoskeletal system includes the bones and muscles that help you move. Doing the same motion day after day can be hard on your body, and can strain your musculoskeletal system. It could be an injury from repeating the same motion. Can you think of things you do at work in the same repetitive motion? Are your wrists bent when you type on the computer? What about bending and picking up? Repetitive motion injuries can affect the way you work and can be very painful. Keeping motion injuries at bay is important. That means try to avoid repetitive motion if possible so you can stay pain-free.
Make sure to rest, and take breaks so your body can fully recover. By taking steps to protect your bones and muscles, you can keep doing the things you need to do every day at work and at home. It is possible to prevent motion injuries and reduce symptoms. Ask your employer for an ergonomic desk set up. Some companies have a specialist that can come and look to see how you are sitting and then make the proper adjustments to your workstation. If your employer doesn’t offer this benefit, you can check out and print this ergonomic workstation guide from the Mayo Clinic.
Preventing and Treating Repetitive Motion Injuries
In addition to getting your desk set up ergonomically, you need to know how to avoid work-related repetitive motion injuries, so you can stay pain-free. Your musculoskeletal system includes the bones and muscles that help you move. Doing the same motion day after day can be hard on your body, and can also strain your musculoskeletal system. Have you ever felt numbness in your hands or sharp pain in your arms or wrists? It could be an injury from repeating the same motion.
Repetitive motion injuries usually affect the hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Strain causes tiny tears in your muscles and tendons. When the tears can’t heal as fast as they are being made, the area becomes inflamed and painful. Ouch!
Here are a few tips for preventing and treating motion injuries:
- Take lots of breaks. Get up, stand up and walk around. Stretch and give your body time to rest.
- Adjust your chair and desk so you’re sitting in a natural position.
- Keep an upright posture. Avoid leaning forward or backward more than you have to.
- Use a splint to lessen pressure on the muscles and nerves of your wrists.
- Put ice on the affected area.
- To relieve soreness and pain, try physical therapy.
Do you remember Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz? He’s stiff and needs oil, but as soon as he gets some oil, he starts dancing and keeps on going. It’s important to loosen up your joints, so you can prevent being a stiff “tin” full of arthritis. Not all treatment is the same and you will need to consult with your doctor to find out what steps you need to take. If you are cognizant of your posture and you focus on the way you are positioned while you work, you can potentially prevent injuries, joint injuries, and arthritis.
When you are constantly sitting behind a desk working on a computer, you don’t realize that your posture is suffering. And your wrists and back may not be properly positioned to avoid injury. However, being aware of how you sit, taking breaks, and being careful with repeated motions, is important for musculoskeletal health. Even back pain can be caused by sitting improperly at your workstation.
A Healthy Musculoskeletal System
It’s important to take care of your bones and muscles. A healthy musculoskeletal system can improve your entire well-being. You will feel better and move better. Take the challenge today! Make sure to get your ergonomic guide for your workstation. Be aware of repetitive motion, practice safe lifting and bending. And don’t forget to park a little further each day to get in a few more steps. Use the stairs whenever possible, and always practice good posture.