Ergonomics – Engineering Controls
To reduce the chance of injury, your work tasks should be designed to limit your exposure to ergonomic risk factors. What does this mean exactly? Simply stated, make sure the tasks you’re performing aren’t putting you at risk of injuries like carpal tunnel. To protect yourself, try to make use of engineering controls that will implement a physical change to the work place to eliminate or reduce the hazard. For example, you might try using a device to lift heavy objects. You can also re-position a work table to prevent yourself from having to reach excessively. The key to protecting yourself is to first identify the potential for ergonomic related injuries associated with your task. Once you do that, take a moment to setup the task differently so it will reduce the risk of injury.
The Importance of Good Ergonomics
What is ergonomics? Well, it can be defined as fitting the job or task to the worker to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. These types of injuries develop slowly over time and occur in the soft tissues of your body like the nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints. Using good ergonomics while performing your work activities will make the work easier on your body. It can also help you complete your work more efficiently (it’s a win-win!) Before starting a task, ask yourself if any aspect of your job will be uncomfortable or difficult to perform. Determine if there are solutions (work techniques, tools or equipment) that would make the task easier. It’s important to recognize if there is a risk of your task causing musculoskeletal disorders so you can protect yourself from a possible injury.
With Proper Ergonomics While on the Job
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be really painful! It occurs when a nerve is regularly disturbed (ouch!) What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel? Well, they include pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist. Please recognize tasks that require repetitive bending and flexing of the fingers and wrists that can lead to carpal tunnel. When using hand tools, like screwdrivers or paint brushes, you can prevent injury by distributing your grip across the muscle from the base of the thumb to your pinkie finger, rather than just the center of the palm. You should also wear gloves to lessen the shock when using vibrating tools such as chippers and hammers. Don’t forget to rest your hands periodically and minimize repetitive movement when possible.