Ergonomic injuries are those that occur because of ergonomic risk factors such as the exposure to vibration or heat and cold. Sitting in sustained or awkward positions, contact pressure and forceful exertion also pose a threat to workers.
Those who suffer from ergonomic injuries need to make changes to recover. Like other kinds of injuries, recovery is based on making changes, like getting better, ergonomic equipment for the office, and receiving medical care. Like lacerations, broken bones and other serious injuries, ergonomic injuries should be covered under your workers' compensation policy.
Ergonomic injury symptoms
Symptoms of ergonomic injuries begin with numbness and tingling, joint stiffness and pain in the wrists, fingers or other areas of the body. Some may feel stabbing pains while others struggle with a burning sensation. Many of these sensations are a result of the overuse of a body part or strain on the spine, and subsequent disruption of the nerves in the spinal cord.
People suffering from ergonomic injuries may also find they're struggling with inflammation, cold extremities or a loss of range of motion.
How can you avoid ergonomic injuries in the workplace?
The first step is to recognize symptoms and to address them when you sense them taking place. If you sit at a desk, for example, consider getting a desk that allows you to sit and stand when you work. That way, you can change positions more frequently.
Another thing to discuss with your employer is getting seating that is built for ergonomic support. A chair with lumbar support, adjustable armrests and neck rests makes a world of difference when you're working at a desk all day.
Another helpful tip is to get up and move around more often. When you work at a computer, it's a good idea to take regular breaks, even if they're only for a few minutes at a time. You may be surprised at how much better your eyes feel when you look away from a screen for a short time or how much better your back feels just because you've stood up more often during the workday.
Ergonomics play a significant role in safety in every workplace, but it's particularly important in offices. You should receive training and support for ergonomic adjustments in the workplace. Good ergonomic changes can help reduce injury in an office environment, giving you the best shot at a life free of workplace injuries.