The World Health Organization estimates that there are approximately 650 million people in the world living with disabilities of various types.1 Disability affects people in all kinds of ways.
Some people have experienced a serious illness, some have been in an accident, some experience injuries from working on a factory floor, and others experience pain from working at their desk. Both employers and employees play an important role in staying healthy and preventing injuries from occurring.
Depending on your work environment, you may be exposed to different levels of potential risk.
Workers in factories tend to experience musculoskeletal disorders, which are injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. Often, routine lifting of heavy objects, daily exposure to whole body vibration, regular overhead work, or performing repetitive, forceful tasks can lead to neck, shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist, and back pain or discomfort.
If you are able, consider the following:
- Change the way materials are transported. For example, try using mechanical assist devices to relieve heavy load lifting and carrying, or use handles (or slotted hand holes in packages) when manually lifting.
- Change your workstation layout. This can include using height-adjustable workbenches and moving tools and materials within short reaching distances to reduce awkward stretches.
- Take care of your hearing. Ensure you are wearing high-quality industrial earplugs or ear muffs to helps protect your ears and your hearing.
What about office workers?
Many of us work in offices each day, bent over computer keyboards, slouching in chairs staring at a screen, and sitting for hours at a time. This daily routine can cause discomfort and pain for some, and even long-term problems for others.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while at work:
- Keep your feet on the floor or use a footrest if you cannot reach the floor. Keeping your feet on the floor will help to reduce back pain.
- Keep your mouse handy. Make sure your arm is not stretching, or on some crazy angle, in order to use your mouse. Try keeping the mouse right next to your keyboard
- Keyboard angle. Ideally your keyboard should be at about the same height as your forearms and slightly tilted. Sometimes keyboard trays can be added to raise or lower the keyboard to make typing more comfortable.
- Try and stretch. It’s not healthy to sit in the same position for long periods of time. Try and get up and have a quick stretch. If you aren’t able to get up, there are some good stretches that can be done while seated. Try sitting with your back straight and your feet on the floor, and then (with your arms at your sides and fingers pointing to the ground) turn the outside of your elbows in towards your waist and hold – you should feel a nice stretch.
- Screen height. Most screens allow you to adjust both the height and the angle. Try and position your screen so that your eyes are 2-3” from the top of your monitor.
1 World Health Organization website- www.who.int/nmh/a5817/en
Courtesy of Homewood Health