Ergonomics considers the relationship between the worker, the actions or tasks inherent to that activity (job, school, play), and the environment in which the work is performed. When there is a mismatch between the physical requirements of the job and the physical capacity of the worker, musculoskeletal disorders may result.
Ergonomics is the practice of designing equipment and work tasks to conform to the capacity of the worker. It provides a means of adjusting the work environment and work practices to prevent injuries before they occur.
Certified Ergonomic Specialists evaluate the client's work or home environment.
The assessment is performed by a licensed occupational therapist or physical therapist who performs the following:
- Suggests options for solving ergonomic safety issues
- Assists in establishing or improving work- site injury and illness prevention programs
- Helps employers identify hazards in the workplace
- Works with employers to identify and develop health and training for employees
- Provides employers with written reports to summarize findings
Environmental factors can often be accommo- dated to a client's temporary or long-term limita- tions. The ergonomic assessment may involve both remediation or prevention of further injury. On-the-job injuries are often costly to employees, employers, and insurers. Activities to promote prevention may represent a sound investment.
Common Areas for evaluation include
- Work site analysis
- Desk height
- Chair design
- Location of computer station
- Effectiveness of work area for temperature, height, lighting
- Incorporation of pacing techniques to reduce incidence of work-related injuries
- Prescription for adapted aids
Common Musculokeletal Disorders caused by poor ergonomic environment
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Back/neck pain
- Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome
Causes of Musculoskeletal Disorders - Repetition - Forceful exertion - Awkward postures - Contact stress - Vibration
Upon completion of an ergonomic assessment, a report is generated that includes
- Positive aspects of the job
- Risk factors of the job
- Risk modification or control
- Management solutions
- Exercise programs
- Training and education programs to promote safety and increase productivity
In addition to individual ergonomic analysis, Magee staff is available to provide education on injury prevention, body mechanics, and recommendations on safety design.