When there is a mismatch between the physical requirements of the job and the physical capacity of the worker, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including back injuries, can result. Ergonomics is the practice of designing equipment and work tasks to conform to the capability of the worker, it provides a means for adjusting the work environment and work practices to prevent injuries before they occur.

Adapting the job to fit the worker whenever possible helps prevent or reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and injuries.  Management leadership and employee participation is critical to assure a safe and health work environment.  These controls are an important part of an effective ergonomic program:

  1. Take regular breaks
  2. Exercising (e.g., deep breathing, shoulder rolls, leg lifts, etc.)
  3. Drinking plenty of water
  4. Alternate tasks
  5. Evaluate your work station:
  • Utilize office chairs with five legs and casters
  • Adjust desks and chairs to an appropriate working height
  • Arrange desks/work areas with frequently used items within easy reach
  1. Report any back injuries or pain to your supervisor
  2. Use hand trucks and carts are available for moving or large, bulky, and/or heavy items
  3. Change posture and eye focus for approximately 1-2 minutes an hour while working at a work stations and/or computers
  4. Avoid twisting, flexing, and reaching
  5. Relax shoulders while sitting
  6. Position equipment properly
  7. Do not cross your legs while sitting

Click here to learn more about workplace safety in our Injury and Illness Prevention Program manual.

One Response to “Ergonomics”

  1. I continue to see an increasing trend of soft tissue and musculoskeletal injuries among caregivers working in Assisted Living. I believe this is in part due to Hospice Care and residents “Aging in Place” and not being transferred to SNF dispite the higher level of care required.

    I would love to see this addressed along with the need for asisitive devices such as lifting and transfer equipment needed to safely assist residents in AL. It’s a paradigm shift. There is a great deal of resistance.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment