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How to Avoid the Most Common Workplace Injuries

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Ergonomics, a scientific system of physical movements and postures in the workplace, can help you avoid workplace injuries.

Step 1: Assess tasks in your average workday
Assess the physical tasks in your average workday. These range from small repetitive movements while seated to tasks requiring standing, reaching, and carrying loads.

Step 2: Avoid bad posture at a workstation
Use a sturdy, adjustable chair for seated work. Use a cushion on your chair for lower back support.

Step 3: Avoid visual fatigue by adjusting your monitor
Position your computer screen slightly below eye level for viewing comfort. Use a glare screen to avoid eyestrain, and a document holder positioned at eye level near the computer screen.

To help avoid visual fatigue, look away from your computer's screen once every 20 minutes.

Step 4: Align the keyboard to avoid hand and wrist injuries
Use arm or wrist rests for keyboard work and align your keyboard’s letter B with your bellybutton. The keyboard’s reach position should be slightly below elbow level.

Keep your hand off the computer mouse when you’re not using it to help avoid hand and wrist injuries.

Step 5: Do stretch exercises during your work day
Stretch your fingers, hands, arms, and torso during your work day. Stand up and walk away from your workstation and around the room when you can.

Step 6: Learn how to lift loads ergonomically
Learn how to lift loads ergonomically if your job requires standing and physical tasks. Use your legs to do the work in lifting tasks, not your upper body or back, and avoid twisting.

Step 7: Learn how to carry loads ergonomically
Use rollers or conveyor belts to move heavy boxes or other loads. If your workplace doesn’t have rollers or conveyors, push rather than pull the load.

Step 8: Wear appropriate safety gear for specific tasks
Wear safety gear appropriate to each work task, including proper footwear and knee and elbow pads.

Did You Know?
The science of ergonomics was first documented in ancient Greece by Hippocrates in his account on how a surgeon’s workplace should be designed.