Unfortunately, too few people ever think about getting injured at work until it’s too late. According to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA), there are millions of work-related injuries reported each year. Because of that, the cost of worker’s compensation claims can be extremely damaging to business’s bottom line.
Aside from the legal or financial ramifications of getting hurt on the job, keeping yourself safe at work is the best way to go home in one piece at the end of the day. The same study conducted by OSHA revealed a staggering number of fatal injuries that could have been avoided with the proper safety measures in place. A better understanding and appreciation for workplace ergonomics may help everyone clock out safely.
What Is the Definition of Ergonomics?
America’s most trusted dictionary, Merriam-Webster, defines “ergonomics” as an applied science that deals with the design and/or layout of the places and/or things people use to interact resourcefully and safety. While it doesn’t specify whether ergonomics is focused primarily on at-home, recreational or workplace efficiency, the design characteristics of any object can directly impact the way it gets used and is therefore an important factor
Why Do Ergonomics Matter?
Put simply: workplace ergonomics can help to prevent injuries that could otherwise be life-threatening. Getting hurt on the job is no fun for anyone. Injured employees typically deal with a messy aftermath that often includes:
● Expensive hospital trips
● Countless doctor’s visits
● New medications
● Hours/days of missed wages
● Mountains of paperwork.
● Reduction in ability or mobility
● Chronic pain
The ergonomics of an object or location matters because it can be the difference between life or death in many cases, not to mention it can reduce the stress of working in an unsafe environment or supervising high-risk employees.
A Practical 5-Point Guide to Help Prevent Workplace Pains and Strains
Often referred to as biotechnology or human engineering, ergonomics provides a practical and affordable solution to many workplace hazards. By utilizing its standards, job site safety is increased tremendously and work-related injuries are reduced significantly. However, one important thing must be understood.
While employers may provide safety equipment and routine training, the responsibility of avoiding workplace injury is yours alone. Accidental slips and falls account for millions of dollars in lost wages and insurance claims per year, so you should always take a proactive approach to your on-the-job health.
Below is a practical 5-point guide using industry-standard ergonomics as the inspiration. It’s been designed to help prevent workplace pains and strains before they happen.
1. Keep Work Spaces Clean
Keep common areas and walking paths clear at all times. This includes:
o Cables or cords
o Tools or supplies
o Garbage or debris
Something as simple as a piece of trash on the floor can be disastrous under the right combination of circumstances. If you keep a clean work environment, your chances of getting hurt on the job are reduced greatly.
FACT: Studies show that workers tend to become more productive when they work in clean surroundings.
2. Make the Place Bright
Bright lights prevent accidents by helping you see better. Although it can be tempting to open or close your office without the lights on, such habits can be your downfall if you’re not extremely careful. Keep lights on all the time, especially in small spaces or rooms that store hazardous materials.
3. Install/Use Safety Equipment
Most employers provide employees with location-specific safety gear to reduce the frequency of injury. Such equipment typically includes both wearable and non-wearable paraphernalia, such as:
o Reflective vests
o Steel-toed boots
o Hand rails
o Light/sound systems
By utilizing the safety measures provided regardless of whether they’re convenient or not, your risk of becoming injured at work is virtually eliminated.
4. Wear the Correct Attire
Different jobs call for different clothes. For example, you wouldn’t wear a business suit to a construction site and you wouldn’t wear a scuba suit to a corporate meeting. Dressing for the job you have is an important part of your safety, especially since most employers design their company’s uniform based on their industry’s standards of workplace ergonomics.
PRO TIP: Always wear slip-resistant footwear even if you work in a relatively hazard-free environment.
5. Stay in Shape
Believe it or not, many work-related injuries are due to the employee being out of shape or previously injured without knowing it. Not only will regular exercise help you stay healthy but it might also help you avoid injury at work. The experts at Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage that are offering chiropractic massage therapy suggest getting frequent treatments to optimize your musculoskeletal resiliency. That, in addition to a proper diet, can provide a natural physical safeguard.
The Final Verdict
Preventing pains and strains while on the job isn’t as difficult as some may try to make it. In fact, it has a lot to do with two very important yet very simple factors:
● The ergonomics of your workplace
● Your willingness to use your resources to stay safe and healthy while on the clock
Some activities and shortcuts may seem like a good idea, but you’ll quickly change your mind after you get the hospital bill. And although employers utilize various industry-standard safety measures and provide comprehensive training, it’s your duty to stay protected by following the 5-point guide outlined above.
AUTHOR BIO: Dr. Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is graduate of the University of Nevada and Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon. As the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, Dr. Wells is highly respected in his field as one of the premier chiropractors in Anchorage, Alaska. He specializes in rehabilitative therapies which include acupressure, chiropractic massage, adjustments and natural pain relief at his multi-disciplinary clinic. He enthusiastically continues his education with ongoing research on spinal conditions, neurology, physical therapy, bio mechanics, and trauma. As an active member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians, Dr. Wells also supports numerous studies and volunteers at the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation.