Many folks sit at the computer for hours every work day, or they sit behind the steering wheel of a bus, truck, or taxi. These people are at risk of repetitive stress injuries. After all, the way they sit and the way they move tend to put repetitive stress on the same parts of their bodies, often the forearm, back or wrist.
Proper ergonomics can help. This occurs when you fit a job to a person rather than fit a person to a job. For instance, improper ergonomics is likely occurring if an employer buys the same kind of nonadjustable chair for all of its 200 employees. Here is a look at how employers and employees can use good ergonomics to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.
Taking regular and frequent breaks
Interrupting your sitting with movement is the best thing you can do for your body. The more often, the better. So, going for a five-minute or 10-minute walk every hour gets your back out of the chair and in a different type of alignment. It also gets the blood moving differently through your body and means for a few minutes you are no longer typing, steering or whatever it is you regularly do.
Employees often feel pressure to skip breaks, no doubt. Employers should emphasize that they really do encourage workers to take their regular breaks.
Changing up your motions
You may do different functions at your job. For instance, if you work as a secretary, you may spend 30 percent of your time researching online and using a mouse. Conversely, 50 percent of your time may consist of typing reports and other documentation. If you can alternate between the tasks rather than doing each in a big 30 percent and then 50 percent chunk, that helps your body ergonomically.
Using the correct equipment
You can use the correct equipment and still experience repetitive stress injuries, but using equipment that does not suit your body and job puts you at a greater risk. You may be able to take action and lower repetitive stress injury risk by making your desk more ergonomic.