Why work hard while you can work “SMART”???
Work is defined as an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result. It can vary from kids going to school, doing their home works to adults managing the household and office duties. Work, in any sense, isn’t meant to hurt…But unfortunately, due to the fast pace of life, we often tend to neglect our body postures. Thus, imposing strain on our body, which results in some kind of musculoskeletal disorders(MSD’s).Who wouldn’t want to work efficient with lesser effort?? Ergonomics is all you need!!!
Ergonomics, derived from the from the Greek “nomos” meaning rule and “ergo” meaning work, is the practice of fitting the job to the person. It simply means modifying your workplace and the technique of your work such that your work is accomplished and your body isn’t much tired. To understand how to lead an ergonomically sound lifestyle, you would first have to identify the various risk factors you may be getting subjected to in your daily life, so as to modify them and prevent excessive strain on your body.
Various risk factors for Musculoskeletal Disorders
Prolonged exposure to any of these ergonomic risk factors or presence of multiple risk factors within a single job task increases the chances of injury.
Individual risk factors include:
- Poor work practices: They cause unnecessary stress on their bodies that increases fatigue and decreases their body’s ability to properly recover.
- Poor overall health habits: People who smoke, drink excessively, are obese, or exhibit numerous other poor health habits are putting themselves at risk for not only musculoskeletal disorders, but also for other chronic diseases that will shorten their life and health span.
- Poor rest and recovery: MSD’s develop when fatigue outruns the person’s recovery system, causing a musculoskeletal imbalance. Those who do not get adequate rest and recovery put themselves at higher risk.
- Poor nutrition, fitness and hydration: Those not taking care of their bodies are putting themselves at a higher risk of developing musculoskeletal and chronic health problems.
Just like workplace risk factors, exposure to these individual risk factors by having a poor overall health profile puts them at greater risk of developing a musculoskeletal imbalance and eventually leading to an MSD.
Now that you know how you may end up into a MSD…we’ll tell you few simple MANTRAS to improve on your ergonomics.
- Work in Neutral Postures: Neutral postures are postures where the body is properly aligned ,balanced as the S-curve is maintained while either sitting or standing. Thus placing minimal stress on the body and allowing for maximum control and force production
- Reduce Excessive Force:Eliminating excessive force requirements will reduce worker fatigue and the risk of MSD formation in most workers. Using mechanical assists, counter balance systems, adjustable height lift tables and workstations, powered equipment and ergonomic tools will reduce work effort and muscle exertions.
- Reduce Excessive Motions: Excessive or unnecessary motions should be reduced if at all possible. In situations where this is not possible, it is important to eliminate excessive force requirements and awkward postures
- Use your Power zone: The power zone for lifting is close to the body, between mi-thigh and mid-chest height. This zone is where the arms and back can lift the most with the least amount of effort
- Work at Proper Heights: Work is best done at Elbow height,as in Img 2
Working at proper heights
- Keep your workplace organized: Arranging the desk according to the frequency of requirement improves your work pace and eases your work.
Arrange your work area
- Minimize Fatigue and Static Load: Design tasks for neutral postures
- Minimize force required
- Change postures and/or take “micro-breaks”
- Minimize Pressure Points: Redesigning the task
- Changing layout to avoid leaning
- Use cushioned insoles for footwear.
- Pad the edge of the table
- Round the edges of your chair
- Move, Exercise, Stretch: You need to prepare your body for work by warming up to improve performance and lower injury risk.
- A warm-up stretching regimen is a great way to prepare your body for work, asstretching will reduce fatigue, improve muscular balance and posture and improve muscle coordination.
- It is also beneficial to take periodic stretch breaks over the course of your work day to get your blood moving and restore your energy.
- Maintain a Comfortable Environment: Create an environment that enhances your work ability.
- Avoid extreme temperatures
- Provide adequate lighting and ventilation
- Isolate vibration
Following the above principles will help in increasingwork productivity and lessening ergonomic risks.
Proper nutrition, hydration, rest and exercise will help you in maintaining a good health and improve your fitness.Combining ergonomics with proper health care will ensure safety of self at home and at workplace..
With simple changes in your lifestyle and your working environment, you can save up a lot of your energy as well as perform the activities at greater ease.
Good Form. Good Function. Good Health J