October is Ergonomics Awareness month, and it’s a good time to create awareness of human factors and ergonomics in a variety of ways.
Although any work environment can expose employees to ergonomic hazards, exposure can be minimized by making the proper changes. However, we need to be aware of ergonomic risks/hazards that are present when we perform a variety of tasks before we make changes.
These risks are found not only when performing work tasks but when at home as well. You may be exposed to ergonomic risks while on the computer at work, but also when working on your car, pulling weeds, snow shoveling and more. If proper changes are not made, you may be looking at an injury!
Unfortunately, ergonomics-related injuries (such as overexertion and repetitive motion) may not be seen after a day, week or even a month of working. Instead, these cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) take time to appear. Have you ever thought, “I’ve been doing this job for 10+ years and I’ve never had a problem or noticed pain until today?” This is quite common with ergonomics-related injuries, and it is the reason they are referred to as “cumulative trauma” disorders.
How common are these disorders? The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index 2016 indicated that overexertion injuries (ergonomics-related) account for more than $15 billion. Unfortunately, these injuries also ranked number one at CSU. The bottom line here – ergonomics-related injuries are common and costly.