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Workplace Ergonomics

Woman sitting at her work desk stretching her neck to one side

Every year people spend thousands of hours working in conditions that aren’t ergonomically sound, and are at risk of developing issues surrounding their eyes, neck, arms, and most specifically the spine.  Ergonomics is defined as a science focused on creating places where interaction with the environment can happen safely and efficiently. This extensive amount of time spent working in non-ergonomic environments can have serious repercussions for workers, including a reduction in efficiency, a loss of income, and permanent injury.  One natural consequence of working in these environments is a host of musculoskeletal disorders, all of which can be avoided by following some of the following tips.

Maintain Your Posture 

The first sign that your work environment may be causing you harm is a back that is aching and sore, usually from hours spent slouched over your computer keyboard.  While you may feel better after a short stretch, the damage being done is building up and the only way to ensure that you don’t end up with long-term problems is taking steps to protect your posture while working.

  • Use document stands to hold papers that you’re typing information from.
  • Your monitor should be directly behind your keyboard, and your chair should sit square in front of it.
  • Use a headset instead of holding your phone between your shoulder and ear.
  • Reaching, stooping, and bending can all result in injury over time.
  • Be sure to change how you’re sitting during your workday, or get a standing desk.

Your Seating Matters

Permanent damage can result in damage and pain in your lower back, so ensuring that your seating is appropriate and supportive is important.  Inspect your chair and ensure that it meets the following requirements to support your health:

  • Your seat must support your spine curvature by having an adjustable lumbar support
  • The backrest and seat need to be adjustable so you can sit properly without leaning forward
  • You must be able to adjust the armrests to a comfortable height
  • The backrest should be slightly inclined
  • The seat height should be adjustable for the best fit in your environment
  • The edges of the seat should be rounded to avoid pressure points.
  • The chair should be sized properly for yourself
  • The backrest needs to be high enough to support your head, or have a headrest
  • The fabric of your chair should be comfortable and resistant to slipping
  • The wheels of your chair should be suitable to the floor you’re on

If you’re concerned about your workplace ergonomics and want more tips on what you can do to help maintain good full body health, contact Dr. Justin Dempsey DC at the Premier Health and Wellness Center in Waco, TX.  At their offices you’ll be able to get the present condition of your body assessed, and learn what steps you can take to improve your long-term health at your workplace. They’ll also have other ideas and tips for improving the ergonomics of where you work.

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