Focused on Fitting the Job to the Worker

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Take a moment to check your posture because October is National Ergonomics Month! Today ergonomics is defined as the science of designing the workplace to accommodate the worker. The benefit of ergonomics, or fitting the job to the worker, is in the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). MSDs are soft tissue injuries that affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons.

According to OSHA the primary risk factors for work-related MSDs are:

  • Exerting excessive force
  • Performing repetitive tasks
  • Working in awkward postures or the same posture for long periods
  • Localized pressure to a body part
  • Vibration

Have you taken time to look for risk factors lurking in your work space? While you're patting yourself on the back for spending extra time on your computer finishing that project, beware! You may be a candidate for a MSD. Work that involves repetitious activity, awkward positions, or even cold and hot temperatures can put you at risk for injury.

The goal of a comprehensive workplace ergonomics program is to identify and eliminate these risk factors. Here at UC Davis we have an Ergonomics & Body Mechanics Program through Occupational Health Services. Here you can find information and resources regarding safe and proper handling of materials, office space set up, best lifting practices and tips to prevent repetitive motion injuries.

Applying ergonomics principles in the workplace can be very beneficial. Alleviating workplace stress results in improved productivity, efficiency and employee morale. It can decrease lost work days, employee turnover, workers’ compensations claims and costs related to work-related MSDs.

For tips on improving your work space, visit the Ergonomics Team at https://safetyservices.ucdavis.edu/article/uc-davis-ergonomics-body-mechanics-program or contact FM Safety Office at fmsafety@ucdavis.edu.

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