Ergonomic Hazards

Ergonomic Hazards

young male sitting in front of his desk with a curved spine inappropriate posture
young male lifting a stack of heavy boxes

The workload and ergonomics can cause injuries in the human body that may result from a single exposure to an intense effort or from repetition and prolonged exposure to lesser efforts and bad postures, as sitting in an inappropriate desk all day. These injuries may result in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and can affect workers in all sectors.

Ergonomic Risks have

multiple causes

Like severe forces, non-neutral postures, repetitive tasks and vibrations

and have multiple

EFFECTS

Tendon inflammations and related conditions (tenosynovitis, epicondylitis, bursitis)


Nerve compression disorders (carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica)


Osteoarthrosis


Myalgia


Lombalgy


Other regional pain syndromes

common symptoms / injuries can be:

Like musculoskeletal disorders wich affect mostly the regions of the low back, neck, shoulder, forearm and hands

repetitive tasks:


There are not exact preventive measures to reduce or mitigate such hazards. Different authors suggest job rotation as a solution (reducing the exposition time), but that does not directly imply a reduction of musculoskeletal complains in a workplace, given that in order to reduce the exposure of one worker, that of another worker will increase. To implement an effective job rotation schedule, it is necessary to assess the workload of all workers and rotate the task between those with similar work demands

sitting posture:


To workers in desk jobs and who remain sitting during work hours is important to have a neutral posture. To such achievement:

  • The worker should have access to adjustable office equipment, such as chairs, work surfaces and monitor stands, as well as training to use that equipment in the correct way
  • The workers feet should touch the floor (or any appropriate support)
  • Supply with document holders and position them at the same level as the screen monitor (in work with screens)
  • Place the computer mouse beside the keyboard and supply a wrist support

lifting objects:

It is not only heavy weights and intense efforts that cause injuries. Adopting a correct posture is crucial even when you bend over and lift lightweight objects!.

- Before lifting -

  • Check the availability of lifting machines
  • Verify the size and weight of the cargo
  • Depending on the weight, get help from another worker
  • Confirm that the cargo is not trapped
  • Grant its lifting without excessive effort
  • Verify that there are no obstacles in the path

- While lifting -

  • Try to be as near as possible to the load and place your feet in a position that provides a stable base for lifting
  • When lowering and picking the load, use the muscles of your legs
  • Lift it smoothly
  • Keep your back straight and avoid twisting your body
  • Keep the load the nearest possible to your body

There is a maximum heights value for the loads according to gender and load position considering that the lifting is being well executed and for a maximum of 30 operations per hour:

man

pictogram of male body which represents the maximum height for lifting and lowering loads to man: shoulder height with arms close to the body can support 10kg; shoulder height with arms straight can support 5kg; elbow height with arms close to the body can support 20kg and this position represents a safe zone; elbow height with arms straight can support 10kg; knuckle height with arms close to the body can support 25kg and this position represents a safe zone; knuckle height with arms straight can support 15kg; mid lower height with arms close to the body can support 20kg and this position represents a safe zone; mid lower height with arms straight can support 10kg; lower height with arms close to the body can support 10kg; lower height with arms straight can support 5kg;
safe zone

woman

pictogram of female body which represents the maximum height for lifting and lowering loads to woman: shoulder height with arms close to the body can support 7kg; shoulder height with arms straight can support 3kg; elbow height with arms close to the body can support 13kg and this position represents a safe zone; elbow height with arms straight can support 7kg; knuckle height with arms close to the body can support 16kg and this position represents a safe zone; knuckle height with arms straight can support 10kg; mid lower height with arms close to the body can support 13kg and this position represents a safe zone; mid lower height with arms straight can support 7kg; lower height with arms close to the body can support 7kg; lower height with arms straight can support 3kg;

1. shoulder height

2. elbow height

3. knuckle height

4. mid lower height

If instead of lifting, the purpose is to push or pull the load, the maximum loads should not surpass the following values:

Men

Women

Men Women
Force to stop or start the load 20Kg 15Kg
Sustained force to keep the load in motion 10Kg 7Kg

Regarding back belts/supports, they should not be considered as personal protective equipment, since it is considered that they do not prevent any type of back injuries, and can even cause the opposite effect, since workers tend to lift heavier loads, believing that the back belt makes them be stronger.

electro stimulation in physical therapy to a young woman

did you know that...

Musculoskeletal disorders are one of the most common occupational diseases in the European Union affecting millions of workers.

It's time to be an Ergonomic expert!

Adjust your chair, find yourself a correct sitting position to exercise about ergonomics! Ready?