Whether you are an employee or an employer, workplace ergonomic issues can be a real pain for you.
Studies have found that companies across the US spent more than $20 billion annually to settle the claims raised by their employees suffering from muscle disorders (Musculoskeletal Disorders).
Apart from this, a Poll suggests that 70% of employees across the US report injuries caused due to bad work ergonomics every year.
Studies also suggest that desk workers are more exposed to the following health issues: anxiety attacks, obesity, high cholesterol, and severe eyes related problems.
If you look at the bigger picture, this is a very serious issue that is affecting the productivity of the workforce all over the world. But, these issues caused due to bad workplace ergonomics can be fixed quite easily.
All we have to do is identify the flaws in our workplaces and fix them instantly. We have mentioned it instantly because, all the ergonomics-related issues can be prevented with very basic equipment and proper training, you see, complex steps are not required here.
Also, we (Employees and Employees) have to come together, sail the same boat and overcome the bad ergonomics in the workplace as soon as possible.
In this guide, we have listed, some of the common workplace ergonomics issues and problems that employees suffer, explained their root causes, and suggested fixes as well.
Workplace Ergonomic Issues and their Root Cause
You might not be aware of the Digital Eye Strain Problem. Blurred vision is its symptom.
Blurred vision is one of the most frequently reported problems by professionals across the globe.
In these problems, people tend to lose focus and suffer from various symptoms such as fatigue in the eye, dry eye, and headaches in the forehead region.
Studies suggest that up to 90% of screen users report the issue of blurred vision.
Such problems occur due to shrunk workplaces, smaller screens, and a lack of industry-standard equipment.
As an employee, you must ensure that you are providing industry-standard equipment to your employees, it might cost you extra in the first place.
Consider it as an investment as in the longer run, you will get great returns on this investment.
For Employees, Ophthalmologists suggest the following tips:
Since you are working with screens throughout the day, it is quite important that those screens have a proper alignment.
Your screens must be placed at least 20 inches – 24 inches away from your eyes and 4 inches below your eye level.
If you are working with multiple screens, ensure that your eyes are able to reach all the screens with minimal head and neck movement.
This is a golden rule, you must follow it every day at your work.
This states that, after every 20 minutes of screen work, you must focus on any object placed approx 20 feet away from you for a minimum of 20 seconds.
In this rule, it is also suggested that you must take 15 minutes of break after every 2 hours of computer use.
Yeah! Blinks actually help your eye maintain good vision. Medical experts suggest that frequent blinking reduces strain on the eye, and prevents dryness.
Once, you practice all these tips at your workplace and have industry-standard screens and other gadgets, you can easily prevent the problem of blurred vision.
Headaches at work are often due to a dark workplace environment, extended meetings, extra working hours, external noises, and vibrations.
Most employees suffer from a lack of productivity and concentration due to this bad ergonomic workplace issue.
To counter these issues, experts suggest that offices must have a well-lit environment, and colors must be vibrant and bright in the interiors. Besides that, employers must ensure that, if not required they should not ask their employees for overtime. On the hand, if overtime is required, the schedule must include appropriate breaks.
For employees, experts suggest the following tips:
While working, employees must ensure that they follow a particular pattern; for instance, work for 45 minutes and take a break for 10 minutes.
This technique, will not only help you improve your productivity and you can avoid these workplace issues.
Static postures often increase the pressure on the neck and forehead and that ultimately puts additional pressure on your nerves and you suffer from neck fatigue and headaches.
Another very common issue that most employees suffer from is Joint Pain and Muscle Stiffness, these problems mainly occur due to bad office furniture or compact offices.
Think it like this, if you will have a comparatively bigger cubicle or office, you will tend to stretch your arms more often and adjust your sitting posture frequently.
In most offices, cubicles are designed to occupy minimal space, they are not designed according to the employee’s comfort.
We have visited hundreds of offices and on most premises, employees struggle to stretch their legs straight.
As an employer, you must ensure that your cubicles are spacious enough that employees can stretch their arms and legs easily.
Employees must ensure that the followings:
- Frequent Short Walks
- Regular Posture Change
- Ergonomics Office Chair and Adequate Desk Height
According to the Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability, and Risk, over a million employees suffer from spinal cord and back injuries. Besides that, a minimum of 25% of insurance claims are raised by people suffering from a back injury.
People working in the construction industry are often more exposed to such spinal cord injuries. Also, desk workers who have minimal body movement or static posture also report such issues.
Industry experts suggest that companies must organize regular stretching and training sessions to aware the employees.
Apart from this, as an employee, you must take care of the followings:
- Desk height must be appropriate and you must not be overstretching to reach out to the items placed on it.
- The Chair must have an ergonomic backrest, if possible, ensure that you get dedicated lumbar support on the chair.
- Avoid the usage of lifts and prefer taking the stairs.
- Enroll in Annual health checks.
People working in Retails Stores or Wholesale markets, often report numbness in their muscles. This problem majorly occurs due to the repetition of any particular task throughout the day without proper breaks.
Cashiers at retail stores often stand for hours and do their work, and due to this, their legs feel numb. This issue is also affecting the desk workers of every industry.
Experts suggest that retail store employees must switch their tasks every hour, this will ensure proper blood flow in every muscle of their body. Besides that, desk workers are suggested to take short breaks every now and then. They must follow the Pomodoro technique discussed above.
Employers should not motivate their employe to do any repetitive job throughout the day.
Wrist Pain mainly occurs due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This problem arises mainly due to the wrong mouse and keyword and due to inappropriate chair height. Besides that, another big cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is performing repetitive tasks throughout the day.
As an employee, you must ensure that your chair height is aligned properly with your desk and your wrist must not struggle while using either mouse or keyword, also there should be an inward right angle between your elbow and forearm.
If you have static and repetitive work, make sure you are taking regular breaks and doing some physical activity like walking in the corridor.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a very painful condition and it might restrict you from working, therefore you must understand that a few workplace changes and investments will be helpful in the long run.
In this guide, we have explained to you about various workplace issues that occur due to bad ergonomics, besides that, we have also narrowed down their causes and listed experts’ advice to prevent such issues.
All these issues are quite to prevent and with minimal planning and awareness, you can prevent yourself and your employees from such workplace issues.
If you eliminate all these shortcomings of your Workplace, you will be able to achieve an ideal workplace easily.
One point that we want to highlight here is the rise of obesity and diabetes in workers of any profession (the majority of desk workers). Most of the employees tend to either suffer from obesity or diabetes due to physical inactivity in their life as they are busy working for extended hours at their jobs.
Here, we would like to request employers that an organization must have a gym or some physical training room where employees can spend their time. If possible, arrange some awareness sessions so that you can prevent your employees from these severe problems.
Make sure, you bookmark us, in our next guide, we will be talking about the professions that are more exposed to these common workplace issues.