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Ergonomic Hazards: How Does It Affect Us at Work?

Right after high school or college, most of us are expected to work in different industries related to our field of knowledge. However, most of these work types will involve sitting down as we sift through data and information.

In fact, Australia sees rapid changes in terms of work demand and is shifting to a more white-collar business approach. There is a growing demand for lawyers, scientists, and accounts. With millions of technical and scientific jobs being opened every year, the need for office spaces and equipment has also risen.

In certain work lines, most individuals will have to sit for at four hours every day before going on a break for an hour or so, then going back to work in another four hours. While there’s no problem in sitting down to easily concentrate on our work, doing repetitive tasks with the same body posture for hours can often lead to problems with the back.

What Are Some Common Ergonomic Hazards?

Ergonomic hazards aren’t necessarily limited to just work, and it can happen to us in almost any situation. This is especially true for most drivers who have to sit down and drive for long hours and other activities that might require most individuals to stay in the same body position for extended hours.

But in the office setting, what are some of the most common ergonomic issues? How do we solve such issues? Here are some insights that can help you to that end.

Posture

When we get older, posture can become an issue if we are always in the same body position. This is especially true when we are always sitting down since the brunt of our weight will be shifted towards our spine.

There’s going to be a point that we will have to sit down so that we can get work done as fast as possible. However, posture is one of the most common safety hazards when it comes to sitting down, especially on an office chair that isn’t geared towards our natural spine’s curvature. With most companies addressing the problem of ergonomic hazard and posture, most businesses are starting to invest in ergonomic-focused equipment and furniture for better working conditions. Most ergonomic equipment explicitly designed for office work, such as high-end Aeron chairs, is known for being maximum comfortability to office workers throughout the day.

In some cases, office workers will usually use standing desks to circumvent the effects of sitting down all day. Not only will this help with blood circulation, but this can help keep most individuals physically fit.

Lifting Heavy Objects

For the most part, warehouse workers and other manual labourers will still face ergonomic hazards in lifting heavy objects. This can take a toll on the spine, especially when individuals lift with their back instead of their legs.

Most employers will invest in machinery that can help with logistics. This can come in the form of forklifts that will help lift crates and packages with fragile inventory and treadmills that can carry objects from one part of the facility to another without having to expend too much energy and force.

ergonomic hazard

Solutions to Ergonomic Hazards

Fortunately, there are different ways of addressing the issue of ergonomic hazards at the office. Most of the changes that have to be made will usually come in engineering design and administrative changes. Such “controls” and changes can help mitigate the risk of ergonomic hazards through different physical means.

Engineering Changes

First and foremost, engineering is an important factor when reducing and mitigating any form of injuries that are usually caused by the design of most types of furniture and tools in the workplace. Engineering changes that can be done to minimise ergonomic hazards can include:

  • Reducing the weight loads of tasks is often the main cause for concern for individuals who have to carry heavy loads for work.
  • Limiting the use of heavy-duty equipment, which is often used in industrial-level work.
  • Explicitly designing workspaces to help mitigate strain while optimising posture.
  • All office spaces should provide workers with a variety of different motions and activities when completing tasks.
  • Repositioning objects to cut down on time needed to reach out for them while still giving a good range of movement to the worker.

Administrative Changes

Another way of addressing ergonomic issues is by reducing risks by changing how the business will conduct activities and operations. Not only will this save time and energy, but this will ensure that resources are being diverted to proper aspects of the business.

  • Employees should have more breaks in between working hours to reduce the effects of strain.
  • Rotating employees between tasks can help reduce repetitive workloads.
  • Storing objects in easy-to-reach places.
  • Labelling heavy loads with the appropriate weights.

There are different ways of addressing common ergonomic hazards at the office and just about any workplace. Doing the same repetitive tasks can have a lasting effect on our bodies and can often lead to health complications and injuries if not addressed. We must listen to the needs and concerns of our employees since they are essentially the beating heart and backbone of the company.

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