Ergonomics: An Effective Way to Prevent Work-Related Injury
By Bianca Régnier
Ergonomics, a science meant to adapt work or tasks to the physical abilities of workers, could considerably reduce the number of work-related injury and health trouble, while simultaneously improving productivity and work quality. Ergonomics notably includes the conception of secure personal workstations and the diminution of work-related risk factors, including the physical rehabilitation of injured workers.
The risks of developing a musculoskeletal disorder, meaning a set of painful afflictions of muscles, tendons and nerves, will be considerably diminished if ergonomics principles are applied at work.
Among the musculoskeletal disorders to avoid, we find:
- Tendinitis, which is an inflammation of the tendons;
- Bursitis, which refers to an inflammation of the joint’s synovial bursa;
- Capsulitis, an inflammation of the joint capsule;
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a compression of the carpal tunnel nerve;
- Quervain’s disease, which is an inflammation of the sheath of the tendons located at the base of the thumb.
To prevent or palliate to musculoskeletal disorders, many moves can be made. Here are two ways to use ergonomics when it comes to injury.
To anticipate eventual problematics like musculoskeletal disorders, one must rethink its workstations in relation to the safety of their employees. An analysis of workstations, anatomical postures, manipulated objects and repeated movements can be made in order to recognize the risks at stakes. It is then possible to correct the workspace or the work method.
Of course, the first goal of ergonomics is to prevent. However, some injuries may occur before a professional can take action. In those cases, ergonomics is used as a work reinsertion and physical rehabilitation method. The goal is then to facilitate the return to work while preserving health, safety and productivity, and reducing the possibility of the injury coming back.