In this safety meeting, we take a look into office set up, injuries, and how ergonomics helps us to address possible workplace strains and sprains, and potentially eliminates loss of productivity, and improves work related health and safety.
As more employees work from home, office ergonomics are a very important safety consideration. Adults now average up to 11 hours per day in front of a screen, so having a comfortable and efficient environment set up to prevent musculoskeletal injuries (MDIs/MSDs), that can include sprains and strains.
The estimated economic burden associated with MSDs in Canada is astounding. The Canadian Orthopedic Care Strategy Group deems occupational and non-occupational MSDs combined to be “the most costly medical condition in Canada”, estimating direct and indirect costs to be in the $22 billion range."
The most effective controls for setting up your home office will be engineering controls. Remember, engineering controls involve making physical modifications to control the hazard or reduce exposure.
They can include:
1. If you use a laptop, use an external keyboard or monitor.
2. Sit with your elbows and knees at 90 degree angles.
3. Look straight ahead, not at an angle, to your monitor.
4. Switch it up; at work you probably take more breaks than you think! Take breaks and get up and move around to relieve tension and strain.
Recommendations from the Mayo Clinic also include:
Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Keyboard and mouse
Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use.
If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor — or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair — use a footrest. If a footrest is not available, try using a small stool or a stack of sturdy books instead.
Under the desk, make sure there's clearance for your knees, thighs and feet. If the desk is too low and can't be adjusted, place sturdy boards or blocks under the desk legs. If the desk is too high and can't be adjusted, raise your chair.
Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm's length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. The monitor should be directly behind your keyboard. Place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.
Did you know that MSDs are the NUMBER ONE type of lost-time work injury reported: