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Ergonomic Workplace Practices That Reduce Repetitive Strain Injuries

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 175

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) was initially referenced in 1982 by the National Health and Medical Research Council in a document that suggested: "workplace injury" triggered by a strenuous pressure from repetitive movement, or by maintained postures.

By the mid 1980's a considerably broadly worded definition surfaced:

"Repetition Strain Injury (RSI), better known as Occupational Overuse Syndrome, is seen as a name for an assortment of conditions categorized by aches or consistent soreness in muscles and tendons... Repetition Strain Injury is commonly triggered or aggravated by work as well as being related to repetitive movement, continual or restricted postures and/or forceful movements."

By 1985, in excess of 4000 incidents across Australia had been announced inside of the public service and more than 80% of all workplace damages claims by females had been linked to RSI. 20 000 litigants had materialized and the Insurance Council of Australia estimated prospective claims for the next twelve months at over $1 billion dollars!

There are numerous factors, which can lead to RSI presenting, in particular:

* repeated motions for long stretches of the time;

* lengthy work hours

* working too fast

* keeping your muscles in the same stance for a very long time

* doing work on equipment not suited to your body

* not having rests

* absence of training

* absence of diversity in the work performed

* working in cold conditions

RSI may appear across a vast number of workplace environments. Jobs where extensive desktop computer use is required greatly increases the risks, mainly because of poor posture over an extensive length of time and repetitive actions.

Whenever muscle groups are used, tiny rips can potentially occur on the muscle tissues, and these muscles may be painful as the body system makes an attempt to mend the damage. Repeated movements over a long period of time may adversely threaten these muscles ability to mend itself.

Thankfully there are measures that may be taken to defend RSI from manifesting and these may also treat symptoms of early phase RSI. Listed below are a list of suggested preventative tips formulated on workplace ergonomics:

Always maintain your monitor approximately between 50 and 100 hundred centimeters away from your face. Helps reduce eye strain. Whenever the depth of your work desk doesn't permit this, shift your computer monitor to a corner, or use a flat screen monitor (if available), to attain a deeper working surface area;

Change your screen so that the middle of the screen is situated at eye level. The screen ought to always be directly in front of your face and at / or marginally below eye level. If you wear glasses and continually tip your head back in order to look down through them at the monitor, lower the monitor further (or heighten your seat) so the screen sits at 15 to 20 degrees below eye level. You could also tilt the monitor slightly towards your face;

Place your key board so that your upper arms can easily dangle vertically. Try to avoid placements where you are forced to stretch your arms too far forward or flex your elbows away from your body to type;

Keep your key board at a height so your forearms extend no greater than 20 degrees above a horizontal position (if sitting), or 45 degrees beneath a horizontal position (if standing upright).

Position your mouse near your key board soit possible for you to transition between typing and using the mouse with as little impact on your arm and wrists. If you have a numeric pad on the right side of your key board, you may want to use your mouse on the left side as this centers the part of the keyboard you use most. (You could also try alternating left and right-sided mouse usage to diminish the impacts of repetitive use).

Position all desk accessories within eyesight and reach. Place your phone, writing equipment, books and other equipment you use on a daily basis within grasp from where you sit. (You should not need to stretch to reach objects).

If you use a document holder, do not set it to one side of your computer monitor (unless you also use a 2nd one on the other side), twisting your head in one direction for prolonged periods fatigues the neck muscles. If possible, position the document holder directly beneath the monitor, angling it in the middle of the screen and keyboard set up.

Vary your chair elevation so your feet are flat on the floor. This should keep your knees and torso at somewhere around the same elevation. To find this level, stand up by the chair and increase or drop the seat edge to just below your knee caps. If the seat isn't adjustable, either put a foot rest below your feet or add a wedge pillow to the seat of the chair

Arrange your back-rest to press comfortably on your back. A good back-rest will press into your lower back and provide you with lumbar support.

Set up arm rests to retain elbows bent somewhere between 90 and 110 degrees horizontally. Take attention and care that your elbows are not winged out, but rather suspended at a comfortable, relatively straight angle. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor and your wrists in a natural, comfortable position.

Always maintain a neutral wrist posture. Avoid angling your wrist sharply upwards or downwards to type. Use a split or ergonomic keyboard; to assist your wrists "drift" over the key board, work with a wrist support;

Adjust your position frequently. Regardless of how healthy your work posture is, sitting in any single position for a prolonged period is not healthy. If you have an adjustable chair, switch in between the upright, reclined and declined positions, all of which will keep your pose natural and stress-free.

If you are in the process of setting up or refitting a workplace, there are significant choices available for workstations and ergonomic office chairs that have been designed to assist reducing the effects of RSI. Alternatively a good commercial interior designer will be able to recommend workstations and office furniture that is adjustable and built according to best practice ergonomics.

Office Space Design empowers Australian companies with productive, efficient workplace spaces that facilitate core business needs while promoting culture and identity.

Office Space Design delivers commercial architectural, design and construct services to Australian companies moving offices or involved in refurbishment, relocation and fit-out projects.

Source: EzineArticles
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