Risk & Safety

Ergonomics and Repetitive Motion Injuries

Sam Bowman
Reading time 2 Mins
Published on May 28

Ergonomics is the study of how people interact with their environment, including their work environment, and how to design and organize tasks, equipment, and the workplace to fit the worker rather than forcing the worker to fit the environment. Repetitive motion injuries, also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a common type of injury that occur from performing the same motions over and over again. As a safety consultant, it is important to understand the principles of ergonomics and the risks associated with repetitive motion injuries to help your clients create a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.

Ergonomic risks can occur in a variety of tasks, including those performed at a computer, on an assembly line, or in manual labor. Common risk factors include repetitive motions, force, awkward postures, and vibration. Repetitive motion injuries can include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and back pain.

To prevent repetitive motion injuries, employers should conduct ergonomic assessments of their workplaces and identify tasks that may be causing or contributing to MSDs. They should also implement ergonomic solutions such as adjustable workstations, equipment, and tools that fit the employee’s size and strength. This includes adjusting the height of workstations, positioning of computer monitors, and providing supportive seating.

Employers should also provide employee education and training on ergonomics, including information on proper posture, lifting techniques, and the importance of taking frequent breaks to rest and stretch. They should also encourage employees to report any discomfort or pain they experience while performing their tasks.

Workplace modifications and engineering controls such as adjustable workstations, tools, and equipment can also be implemented to reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries. Employers should also establish work rotation schedules, to reduce the amount of time employees spend performing repetitive motions.

Additionally, Employers can also use technology to reduce physical strain on employees, such as using automation and robotics to perform repetitive tasks.

In conclusion, ergonomics and repetitive motion injuries are an important consideration in the workplace. By conducting ergonomic assessments, implementing ergonomic solutions, providing employee education and training, and encouraging employees to report discomfort or pain, employers can create a safe and healthy work environment for their employees and reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries. As a safety consultant, it is important to help employers implement these best practices to protect the safety and health of their employees.

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