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Creating a happy and healthy workplace – Start with your office ergonomics
Learn how to boost productivity and keep your workers healthy with a proactive office ergonomics program.
Over the past couple of decades we have seen a drastic shift in Australian workplaces due to the rise in technology. Possibly the greatest oversight with regard to this technology is the way our human bodies interact with the equipment. When office workstations are designed poorly, it often leads to fatigued, frustrated and hurting workers. These workers are rarely the most productive, and they often develop costly and painful musculoskeletal (soft tissue) injuries and disorders (MSDs).
A thorough office ergonomics program can help your company maintain healthy, safe and injury free employees. Properly designed office workstations help employees avoid fatigue and discomfort, freeing their bodies and minds to do their best work.
Common symptoms of poorly designed office ergonomics are:
•Pain in the neck and shoulders
•Lower back pain
•Hand and wrist pain
These symptoms can lead to further fatigue and discomfort and result in costly musculoskeletal injuries and disorders (MSD’s) down the track.
Office Workplace Design
Design your office workplace with ergonomics in mind to ensure you have happy and healthy employees
Most people don’t consider sitting to be risky business, but sedentary work places stress on your body. This can lead to a range of problems from overuse injuries, such as carpel tunnel to lower back pain, as well as having adverse effects on your health.
Safe 2 SitTM is our office ergonomic program that provides employees with the knowledge they need to prevent injuries from computer-based work. The program comes in 3 levels to suit your business and workplace specific needs. Safe 2 SitTM will fit the job, the equipment and the work environment to your employees.
The office ergonomics checklist below will help you get started with your office workstation design with sound ergonomic principles.
• Is your chair vertically adjustable and on a five-point base?
• Does your chair have an adjustable lumbar (low back) support?
• Does the backrest provide adequate support for your back?
• Does your seat pan width and depth provide for good fit and comfort?
• Does your seat pan have tilt adjustability?
• When seated, are your knees at or below the level of your hips (knees not higher than hips)?
Keyboard and Mouse
• Does the keyboard location allow you to keep your upper arms and elbows close to body?
• Does the keyboard position and angle allow for a neutral wrist posture so hands are in a straight line with forearms (not bent up/down or sideways toward little finger)?
• Does the mouse location allow you to keep your upper arm and elbow close to body (arm not extended outward beyond 45 degrees)?
• Do your arms and wrists rest upon surface areas (arm rests, wrist rests, desktop) absent any sharp or hard edges?
• Is the screen directly in front of you (no twisting of your head or neck)?
• Is the monitor in a location that eliminates glare on the screen, which might cause you to assume an awkward posture to read screen?
• Is the monitor located at least arm’s length away from you?
• Is the screen placed at right angles or away from windows and task lights to avoid glare and bright light directly behind the screen?
• Is the top line of screen at or slightly (0-30 degrees) below eye level?
• Is there adequate desktop space available to perform job tasks?
• Is there enough clearance for your knees, and legs?
• If you frequently use the telephone, is a headset provided to use when phone communication is combined with hand tasks such as typing or writing?
• If your job requires frequent viewing of documents, is a document holder provided to hold documents?
If you’re an office worker, arranging your computer workstation correctly is an important first step to care for your overall health and wellness. If you would like more information or feel that you could benefit from an ergonomic assessment, give the team from Prescribe Australia a call today on 1300 798 771.
Remember - Don’t slouch!
Slouching puts more pressure on the discs and vertebrae of your back. Move your chair as close to your work as possible to avoid leaning and reaching.
A successful health program provides significant benefits to any organisation. However to have true impact on your entire workforce you need to involve the workers that are least likely to be engaged in a typical health program, such as the usual lunch time boxing or yoga classes. To do this it is important to create a program covering your companies focus health areas and identified risks.
We understand that your employees are your most valuable asset and as such need information on the health issues that are likely to impact them, along with strategies to improve their personal health status. We do this through our highly skilled and engaging university qualified practitioners delivering presentations, training and health coaching to the workforce. This combined with some interactive challenges using the latest technology to keep it interesting is part of our winning health formula.
Preventative Exercise, Stretching and Rest Breaks.
One of the most important and overlooked pieces of creating a happy and healthy workplace is to take adequate rest breaks, stretch, and complete the right preventative exercises. Using these self-care techniques will empower your workers to maintain high levels of musculoskeletal health, leaving them feeling better at the end of each workday.
If the workers at your company use their bodies to earn a living, then they are what we call workplace athletes. They need to be educated and trained accordingly. Prescribe’s directors recognised over 16 years ago the significant differences between how Australian workplaces were managing their musculoskeletal injuries compared to that which the sporting world was using. It was this epiphany that led to the creation of one of the first truly successful programs of workplace injury prevention. Since this time they have been tirelessly travelling the country promoting the need for a change in preventing musculoskeletal injuries, the result being the market leading Safe 2 StartTM and Safe 2 StopTM programs. We strongly believe that every worker can benefit from some preventative exercise and this is why it is so important to empower workers with both a warm up and stretching program.