Workplace Ergonomics

Tips to Improve Workplace Ergonomics

Ergonomics and Workplace injuries  I   Tips to improve workplace ergonomics  I  Ergonomic principles for Office desk, space, height, movement, sitting posture, repetitive movements, friction and access

Ergonomics at workplace has become very important as maximum part of the day is spent at workplace.

Posture while sitting, standing or working can make all the difference to your physical wellbeing giving rise to back pain, neck pain, shoulder and finger issues. Injuries that result from poor ergonomics are some of the most common and frequent kinds of injuries, and they are found in all kinds of workplaces and occupations.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics can be defined simply as the study of work. More specifically, ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.

A number of factors play a role in Ergonomics; these include :

  • Body posture and movement : sitting, standing, lifting, pulling and pushing
  • Environment : noise, lighting, temperature, humidity (Dul et al 1993)

Injuries caused from poor ergonomics are some of the most common and frequent kinds of injuries, many of these being musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). They may affect various parts of the body including arms, back, hands, wrists, fingers, legs, neck, shoulders. These problems if not tackled at an early stage can lead to chronicity which then becomes difficult to handle.

People spend most of their time in sitting position (for work), maximum time is spent on mobile. The next biggest chunk of time is taken by commute – now people commute for more than an hour everyday. All these activities and many more factors can contribute to workplace injuries

What are the key risk factors?

  • Working in awkward positions
  • Using high hand force
  • Performing repetitive motions
  • Using the hand or knee to make repeated impacts
  • Heavy, frequent or awkward lifting
  • Exposure to moderate to high levels of vibration
  • Sitting or standing too long in one position
  • Mechanical pressure (leaning against a hard edge)

 

 

What can be done to improve workplace ergonomics?

Here are the steps that can be taken by an organization to improve workplace ergonomics.

  1. Evaluate workplace design and setting
  2. Identify workplace issues: Understand the work flow at the workplace and identify the movement pattern and requirements, work demands, discomforts and painful activities (if any).
  3. Develop ergonomic plan
  4. Involve and include employees: Workplaces where employees are involved in taking decisions about health and safety are safer and healthier. While talking to them, you could also ask them some specific questions about their work such as:
  • Are their working postures comfortable (or not)?
  • Do they experience discomfort, aches, pain, fatigue, or feel unable to keep up with the flow of work?
  • Is the equipment appropriate, easy to use and well maintained?
  • Is the person satisfied with their working arrangements?
  • Do they make the same errors and mistakes repeatedly?
  • Are they following procedures, and if no, why not?

 

  1. Identify and implement the solution
  2. Re-evaluate the changes, to see if the solutions are effective

Hence, right equipment, right environment, right use/posture and right maintenance are the vital areas to be focused on.

Tips to improve workplace ergonomics:

Improving Workplace ergonomics may mean small changes to the area and furniture used at work. We list the key ergonomic principles beneath, that should be followed to make necessary changes:

Principle #1: Keep everything within easy reach

Rearrange tools and equipment, tilt work surface, reduce work surface dimensions to work within the normal range of motion.

Principle #2: Work at proper height

Elbow height is considered as the ideal height. Tilt surfaces if required.

Principle #3: Reduce excessive forces

Follow these quick and easy tips to reduce use of excessive force at

work.

  • Use double-handled tools to distribute effort
  • Ensure that the tool handles have comfortable span for a good grip
  • Keep loads close to the body
  • Avoid bending forward
  • Reduce pushing/pulling forces
  • Use transport accessories wherever required
  • Avoid twisting from the back
  • Avoid carrying out tasks overhead / above the shoulder level
  • Avoid carrying loads with one hand

 

Principle #4:  Work with good posture:

  • Maintain “neutral” posture
  • Keep arms and elbows close to body
  • Maintain natural curve of the back
  • Keep the screen height at eye level (computer as well as mobile)
  • Screen to be maintained at about arm length away
  • Room lighting -avoid backlight, shadows or reflective glare

Principle #5: Reduce Excessive Repetition

Repeating the same motion with the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists or hands, every few seconds can cause soreness and eventually lead to injuries. Repetitive movements should be limited and objects and furniture should be re-arranged to minimize repetition.

Principle #6: Minimize Fatigue

  • Eliminate static load
  • Minimize general fatigue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Principle #7: Minimize Direct Pressure

  • Minimise posture and positions that include applying direct pressure in order to avoid soft tissue (nerves, muscles, blood vessels) compression. Refer to the enclosed pictures for examples.

 

  

Principle #8: Provide Clearance & Access

  • Ensure adequate workspace
  • Ensure easy access to everything needed
  • Visual access

 

Principle #9: Maintain Comfortable Environment

  • Appropriate illumination
  • Avoid temperature extremes
  • Isolate vibration

Principle #10: Provide Adjustability & Change of Posture

  • Design for adjustability
  • Allow for alternate postures

In addition to the above things, physical activities, workout programs should be encouraged in the offices.

Frequent breaks should be taken to avoid prolonged exposure to the risk factors.

Last but not the least, remember that exercise is medicine. Therefore, keep exercising and stay fit.

 

ReLiva Physiotherapy conducts Ergonomics and Posture programmes for Corporates. If you or your organization is interested in conducting such a workshop or programme for your employees, contact us at contact@reliva.in

 

At ReLiva, we want you to stay pain-free and get back to participating in the activities you enjoy as fast as possible. Get relief. Call +91 992099 1584 to speak to us today so we can connect you with a physiotherapy specialist in your area.

Related Reading:

Ergonomics Programme for Corporate Employees

5 minute Office Stretch exercises: Back, Neck pain

What’s causing your back pain? Is it poor posture

Working long on Computer : Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Ergonomics: Does it matter in your workplace

Neck Pain : Managing at Home

Physiotherapy, a sustainable solution for workplace Health & Wellness

better back posture

What’s causing your back pain? Is it poor posture

If you haven’t had an accident or picked particularly heavy weight before the back pain episode, chances are that it is caused by prolonged poor or bad posture. You could get rid of lower back pain and back injury by following good posture best practices. Understand why and how posture affects your back.

We often hear that good posture is essential for good health. We tend to actually recognize poor posture only when we see it formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years and evident in many adults. But only few people have a real grasp of the importance and necessity of good posture.

What is posture?

Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply fall to the ground. Normally, we do not consciously maintain normal posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don’t even have to think about it. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over forward. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.

 

Why is good posture important?

Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities.

To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them, if necessary.

Consequences of poor posture:

 

Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax, when held in certain positions for long periods of time. For example, you can typically see this in people who bend forward at the waist for a prolonged time in the workplace. Their postural muscles are more prone to injury and back pain. If you fall asleep in a chair and your head is unsupported, when you wake, your neck may feel sore. That is because the muscles and joints have been under strain and they are complaining. The same thing happens if you sit in a poor posture, for example in front of the computer, TV or at the wheel of a car, or walk in a stooped posture.

Several factors contribute to poor posture – most commonly :

  • Stress
  • Obesity (read more about Obesity and back pain)
  • Pregnancy
  • Weak postural muscles
  • Unusually tight muscles, and
  • High-heeled shoes
  • Decreased flexibility / heavy sitting
  • Poor work environment : Incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits also contribute to poor body positioning.

What happens to your body with bad posture?

Forward head posture – For example; while using mobiles. This creates strain on the neck, shortening the muscles in the back of the neck. Neck pain, radiating pain to the shoulders or arms, chronic headaches, and even low back pain can result.

Mid-back slouching –For example; while driving. This can change the shape of your ribs and drive your head forward over time. The result can be pain in the mid-back and problems with your neck. Eventually, compression of your lungs, heart, and digestive system can occur, causing internal problems.

Low back – Low back pain is very common with poor posture. The back muscles have to contract excessively to keep you upright, causing you pain. Bad posture also causes abnormal wear and tear on the low back, increasing the risk of arthritis in the spine.

Hips and legs –For example; while driving, watching television or a movie in a theatre.  With sitting for prolonged periods, the hip joints lose range of motion and the muscles in the front of the hips stiffen. These tightened muscles then pull on the low back, causing low back pain. Read more about Wallet and buttock pain

 

Walking – Your center of gravity changes with bad posture, causing your balance to decline. In addition, weakness to the hip muscles with prolonged sitting causes problems with walking. All these changes can have a serious impact on your mobility and ability to walk safely

Can I correct my poor posture?

YES. Your posture is never so bad that it cannot be corrected.

However, remember that long-standing postural problems will typically take longer to address than short-lived ones, as often the joints have adapted to your long-standing poor posture. Conscious awareness of your own posture and knowing what posture is correct will help you consciously correct yourself. With much practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture. This, in turn, will help you move toward a better and healthier body position.

Your physiotherapist can assist you with proper posture, including recommending exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles. He or she can also assist you with choosing proper postures during your activities, helping reduce your risk of injury.

Posture refers to keeping the bones in the back in their natural curves. Normally the backbones are shaped in an ‘S’ with 3 natural curves. When you have proper posture, you reduce the risk of back pain. This will help you to breathe better and have more energy.

At ReLiva, we want you to stay pain-free and get back to participating in the activities you enjoy as fast as possible. Get relief. Call +91 992099 1584 to speak to us today so we can connect you with a physiotherapy specialist in your area.

 

This article is contributed by Dr. Swapnaja Joshi (PT). Dr Swapnaja is a Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy. She is very popular among her patients for her positive demeanor and effective treatment. She can be found at one of the ReLiva clinics.

Related Reading:

Tips to Improve Workplace Ergonomics

5 minute Office Stretch exercises: Back, Neck pain

Working long on Computer : Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Neck Pain : Managing at Home

Physiotherapy, a sustainable solution for workplace Health & Wellness

posture in pregnancy

Posture in Pregnancy: Do’s & Don’ts

Posture is the position in which you hold your body while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture during pregnancy involves training your body to stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on your back.

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Following good postures and regular pregnancy exercises (supervised by an expert) could help you avoid certain common aches and pain related to increasing baby bump. Here are few do’s and don’ts that will help you improve your posture during pregnancy and keep your body happy.

Do’s

  • Irrespective of what your doing – cooking or working on a desk, remember to take a break every few hours
  • Take a longer meal break every four hours
  • Vary work positions continuously, from sitting to standing and walking.
  • While sitting – use small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back
  • Keep your hips and knees at a right angle when sitting (use a foot rest or stool, if needed). Your feet should be flat on the floor. (See this video to understand good posture for sitting: Good posture)
  • While sitting, Point your feet in the same direction, with weight balanced evenly on both feet
  • Sleep on your left side with knees slightly bent with a pillow between your knees
  • Try simple stretches or any sort of movements to keep the blood flowing. (Contact a ReLivaTM expert for a customized stretching program as per your stage of pregnancy)
  • Try to practice relaxation techniques for stress free pregnancy. Learn more : FabMoms
  • If you have to, then use both your hands to lift a weight.
  • Even when you’re lifting something light, proper form can spare your back. Bend at your knees, not your waist. Keep the load close to your body, lifting with your legs — not your back.
  • While standing, hold your head up straight with your chin in. Keep shoulder blades back and your chest forward, knees straight, buttocks tucked in.

 

Posture in Pregnancy: Incorrect & correct

Don’ts

  • Avoid prolonged standing.
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 mins
  • Avoid crossing the leg while sitting
  • Avoid sitting in lounging position or chair
  • Don’t worry about frequent urination due to drinking plenty of fluids. It only gives you extra chance to change your position and move around.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach
  • Minimise heavy lifting, climbing or carrying.
  • Avoid bending from waist. Only bend your knees while lifting
  • Avoid twisting your body while lifting
  • Do not wear high heels. The arches of your feet should be supported with low-heeled (but not flat) shoes to prevent stress on your back

Expecting moms who have participated in FAB Moms, a Prenatal Exercise Program have often reported lesser pregnancy related pains. To learn more about FAB Moms, click here.

Related Articles:

Related Articles:

FAB Moms, Pregnancy Exercise Program

Benefits of exercise during Pregnancy

Posture in Pregnancy: Do’s & Don’ts

Happy& Fit Pregnancy ; Back to Shape afterwards

SI Pain & Pregnancy Tips

This article is purely for general information. Please contact your healthcare expert for specialised medical care. Please go through our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

pregnancy aches and pains

Pregnancy related Common Aches & Pains

Pregnancy causes many changes in the body – Physical, chemical as well as emotional. These changes are generally influenced by sudden and dramatic increase in hormone levels, especially Oestrogen, Progesterone and Relaxin.  Physical changes due to weight-gain can put a considerable strain on your musculo-skeletal system. The increase in weight along with the hormone named Relaxin, puts enormous stress on our joints, ligaments and other tissues of the body. In addition, repetitive daily activities and being in one position for too long can further aggravate pain.

If Relaxin is the reason our ligaments become laxed, then why does our body secrete it during pregnancy? Relaxin prepares the pelvic floor muscles and the pelvic ring for child birth. It allows the ligaments around the pelvis to relax. But along with pelvic ligaments, it also acts on the ligaments throughout the body, thus increasing general flexibility. Although increased in flexibility sounds promising, ligaments are responsible for stabilising our joints, therefore lax ligaments also mean relatively unstable joints.

Pregnancy and Pain

Common Aches & Pains related to Pregnancy   

A. SI Joint Pain

Sacroiliac Joint Pain occurs on one side of your low back where the dimples appear. This is where the sacrum and the ilium (bone of the pelvis) meet. Relaxin hormone weakens ligaments so the birth canal widens for delivery. Often, the ligaments become too loose and overstretched. This leads to an unstable pelvis which may feel “wobbly”. The tissues often become pinched in the joint which can create sharp or deep pain. The joint may throb for hours due to swollen, irritated tissues. Read more : SI Joint Pain in Pregnancy

B. Sciatica Pain

Sciatica is leg pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a tense buttock muscle. It often occurs in conjunction with sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

C. Back pain

Back pain in pregnancy has many possible causes. It usually is caused by strain on the back muscles. In mid pregnancy, when uterus becomes heavier, it changes center of gravity. Most women begin to lean backward in the later months of pregnancy – making their back muscles work harder. Weakness of the abdominal muscles can also cause back pain. The abdominal muscles normally support the spine and play an important role in the health of the back. Relaxing over stretches these muscles and can also make one more prone to injury while exercising. Read more : Back Pain

Dealing with these Aches & Pains

Most of the common discomforts and aches & pains associated with pregnancy can be dealt easily by 3 simple non-medicinal ways:

You can join ReLiva FabMoms program and learn to deal with these aches & pains in an easy and fun way. Our Experts can design a customized one-on-one Antenatal Fitness plan for your requirement and supervise you on your way to be a FAB Mom or you may join a more fun setting for antenatal fitness in Group Therapy.

Related Articles:

SI Joint / Pelvic Pain – Do’s & Don’ts
Sacroiliitis, Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Benefits of exercise during Pregnancy
Posture in Pregnancy: Do’s & Don’ts
Happy & Fit Pregnancy ; Back to Shape afterwards
SI Pain & Pregnancy Tips
Infographic on Why Exercise while Pregnant

This article is purely for general information. Please contact your healthcare expert for specialised medical care. Please go through our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

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