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National Safety Month, Week 4: Don't Just Sit There (Focusing on Ergonomics)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Safety Check: Work Ergonomically

If you have back pain, you’re not alone. About 80% of the U.S. population will experience back pain issues at some point in their lives, and 31 million will experience low-back pain at any given time. Most of these cases are not caused by serious underlying conditions, but from actions like improper lifting technique.  

Lift Safely

Prevent strains, dislocations and muscle tears. When lifting, make sure you:

  • Stretch and warm up before you perform any lifting
  • Keep your back straight and bend your knees – remember to never twist or bend your back
  • Are on solid ground with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep the box or object close to your body
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Limit the amount of weight you carry – separate boxes or make two trips instead of carrying more than you can handle
  • Ask for help to carry heavy, bulky or large loads
  • Keep pathways clear of tripping hazards

Ergonomics for the Home Office Worker

Telecommuting is an increasingly popular option to help employees maintain a better work-life balance. Convenience and flexibility are great, but don’t leave ergonomics at the office.

Make sure:

  • Chairs have proper lumbar and arm support, and can be adjusted for height
  • Feet are flat on the ground or a footrest
  • The viewing distance from your eyes to the monitor is at least 18 inches
  • Your keyboard and mouse are at approximately elbow height
  • Lighting is sufficient enough that you don’t have to strain, but not too bright where glare is an issue
  • To take short breaks. Look away from your screen every 15 minutes, take microbreaks in between bursts of heavy typing and don’t forget to take a rest break every 30 or 60 minutes. Get out of your chair, stretch and move around.

By making ergonomics part of your routine at work and at home, you can keep your body free of strain and pain.

Tip Sheet: English & Spanish

Related articles

Office Worker Ergonomics

Keep Safe Lifting a Priority

Other National Safety Month stories:

Week 1: Stand Up to Falls

Week 2: Recharge to be in Charge

Week 3: Prepare for Active Shooters



Report A Safety Concern

Report a concern to KU-EHS

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