Five Images Of Ergonomic Injury Essay

What is an Ergonomic Injury?

Ergonomic injuries are those injuries caused by the presence of ergonomic risk factors, including: 

  • Awkward or sustained postures 
  • Forceful exertion or strain
  • Contact pressure
  • Exposure to vibration
  • Exposure to heat or cold

 It is often a combination of these risk factors that, over time, can lead to pain, injury, and disability.  An injury can occur when there is ongoing exposure to ergonomic risk factors.  A single event may place a stress on body tissues, yet the exposure is too low for traumatic injury.  Given time, the tissues are able recover.  Repeated exposure to these risk factors, on the other hand, may interfere with the body's normal healing process and produce disproportionate responses and lead to an ergonomic injury.

Ergonomic injuries may be referred to as Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs), Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs), Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs), or Cumulative Trauma Injuries (CTIs). OSHA and NIOSH typically use the term MSD or Musculoskeletal Disorder.

Ergonomic injuries or MSDs can affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs. They can be directly or indirectly related to job duties or the work environment. Non-work activities and environments can also impact MSDs.  For example, the average employee may spend 6-8 hours of the work day on the computer.  With features such as internet shopping, web bill paying, and email that employee will likely spend 2-4 additional hours per day on his or her personal computer.  As we spend more and more time on the computer each day, it is imperative that we take the steps to be sure our computer (both at work and at home) is set up to prevent these Musculoskeletal Disorders.

 

Ergonomics is not the problem
- it is the Solution!

What are the signs and symptoms of an Ergonomic Injury or MSD?

  • Pain in the fingers, wrists, or other parts of the body:  may include a dull aching pain,  a sharp stabbing pain, or even a burning sensation
  • Tingling or numbness, particularly in the hands or fingers 
  • Swelling, inflammation, or joint stiffness
  • Loss of muscle function or weakness
  • Discomfort or pain in the shoulders, neck, or upper or lower back 
  • Extremities turning white or feeling unusually cold
  • General feeling of muscle tightness, cramping, or discomfort
  • Clumsiness or loss of coordination 
  • Range of motion loss 
  • Discomfort when making certain movements

How Can I keep myself safe?

 

Learn to control ergonomic risk factors associated with your work.

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Child care workers

Risk factors

Bending, lifting, pushing, and pulling are risk factors for child care employees.
Awkward postures, bending, and lifting aren't child's play.
Standing, reaching, bending, and lifting are repeated in diaper changes throughout the day.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Computer and office workers

Risk factors

Poor posture at a poorly adjusted workstation. This person is going to ache before the end of the day.
Keyboarding can cause repetitive motion, forceful and static exertions, awkward postures, and contact stress.
Awkward postures, contact stress, and glare are risk factors at a poorly designed computer workstation.

What to do

Food service workers

Risk factors

Forceful exertions, repetitive motions, and awkward postures are risk factors during food preparation.
Bending, lifting, reaching, pushing, pulling, and standing for long periods of time are physically demanding.
Temperature extremes, standing for long periods of time, and repetitive motions can be a recipe for discomfort.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Healthcare workers

Risk factors

Lifting, pulling, or pushing a patient requires careful attention to body mechanics for both patient and care giver safety.
Bending and lifting are risk factors for this healthcare provider.
Forceful and static exertions, awkward postures, contact stress, pushing, pulling, and repetitive motions affect this physical therapist.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to EH&S Healthcare Safety Office, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Laboratory workers

Risk factors

Micromanipulation and dissection involve repetitive motions, and forceful and static exertion.
Risk factors for microscope users include awkward postures, static exertion, eye strain, and contact stress from leaning on sharp table edges.
Pipetting, forceful exertions, standing, and leaning for long periods of time are common risk factors for researchers.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Material handlers

Risk factors

Bending, lifting, pushing, and pulling are risk factors for shipping, receiving, and delivery employees.
Awkward postures, repetitive motions, and static and forceful exertions are involved in manifesting, tracking, and data entry activites.
Sorting involves repetitive motions, prolonged standing, awkward postures, reaching, bending, and lifting.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

Trades and custodial workers

Risk factors

Pushing, pulling, bending, lifting, gripping, and vibration are risk factors for cleaning and maintanance equipment operators.
Reaching and extending, noise, and temperature extremes are common in maintenance work.
Shop work may involve awkward postures, contact stress, static and forceful exertions, and repetitive motions.

What to do

Schedule group training

Have an ergonomic specialist present group training in your workplace, focusing on the tasks and equipment your group uses. To schedule group training:

  • You need at least 6 participants
  • E-mail your request to ehsih@ucsd.edu, including:
    • Your name
    • Department
    • Phone number and e-mail address
    • Building and room number

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Campus Funded employees contact EH&S Occupational Health & Hygiene.

Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/ergorisk

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