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8 Common Ergonomic Hazards to Be Aware of in the Workplace

It’s important to be aware of these common ergonomic hazards that can cause serious injuries at work.

Many people think of ergonomics as a way to make their workstations more comfortable. While this is certainly true, ergonomics is also about preventing injuries. This article will discuss common ergonomic hazards that can cause serious injuries to employees. If you are an employee, it’s important to be aware of these hazards and take steps to protect yourself from them!

st. louis office worker with neck pain

What Are Ergonomic Hazards?

Ergonomic hazards are factors in the work environment that pose risks to the musculoskeletal system of employees. These hazards can stem from poor workstation design, repetitive motions, improper handling and lifting techniques, and inadequate working conditions that strain the body. Recognizing these hazards is the first step in preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.

Poor Posture

One of the most common ergonomic hazards in the workplace is poor posture. When you are not sitting or standing correctly, you put unnecessary strain on your body. This can lead to pain and injuries in the neck, back, and shoulders. To avoid this hazard, make sure to sit and stand up straight and use a good chair and desk height.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Another common hazard in the workplace is repetitive motion injuries. These injuries can occur when you do the same task repeatedly, causing pain and inflammation in your hands, wrists, arms, or shoulders. To avoid these injuries, take breaks often and vary your tasks throughout the day.

Heavy Lifting

Heavy lifting is another common cause of workplace injuries. When you lift heavy objects, you are putting a lot of strain on your back and muscles. This can lead to pain, inflammation, and even permanent damage. Always use proper lifting techniques and ask for help when needed.

Contact Stress

Contact stress is another common hazard in the workplace. It occurs when your body is constantly touching a hard surface, which can cause inflammation and pain in your hands, wrists, and arms. To keep contact stress at bay, take breaks often to give your hands a rest and use ergonomic tools whenever possible.

Extreme Temperatures

Working in extreme temperatures can be dangerous for your health. You can experience heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke when you are too hot. When you are too cold, you can experience hypothermia or frostbite. As such, it’s advisable to dress appropriately for the weather and take breaks when necessary.

Poor Lighting

Another common workplace hazard is poor lighting. Working in a dim or dark environment can cause eye strain and other injuries. Employers can reduce the risk of poor lighting-related accidents and injuries by ensuring the workplace is well-lit. They should also encourage employees to wear sunglasses when working in a particularly bright environment.

Excessive Noise

Excessive noise is another common hazard in the workplace. It can cause hearing loss, stress, and fatigue. To protect yourself from excessive noise, wear earplugs or headphones when necessary.

Slips and Falls

Slips and falls are another common cause of workplace injuries. When you slip or fall, you can easily injure your back, neck, or head. You can avoid these accidents by being always aware of your surroundings and using caution when walking on wet or slippery surfaces.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Ergonomic Hazards?

Employees can protect themselves from ergonomic hazards by being aware of the risks and actively engaging in practices that reduce strain. This includes adjusting furniture to fit their body dimensions, using ergonomic tools, and following proper lifting techniques. Self-awareness and education on ergonomic principles are crucial, as is voicing any concerns about potentially hazardous conditions to management.

How to Prevent Ergonomic Hazards

Preventing ergonomic hazards involves a combination of proper workplace design, use of appropriate tools, and employee training. Employers can mitigate these risks by conducting ergonomic assessments of workstations and ensuring they are configured to meet the needs of each employee. Additionally, implementing regular training sessions on safe work practices and encouraging short, frequent breaks can significantly reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries.

St. Louis Workers Compensation Attorneys

If you have been injured in the workplace, it’s important to contact an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney. At The Law Office of James. M. Hoffman, we can help you determine what benefits you are legally entitled to after a workplace injury. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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Updated: May 6, 2024