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A safety meeting in a nutshell

COMPUTER WORKSTATION ERGONOMICS

Before you begin
Observe your work areas and write down your observations. Pay attention to:

Introduction
This session will cover:

Start the discussion by asking what is ergonomics? Ask the group each corresponding question and listen to the members’ input. Discuss the answers and consider giving the group a copy of the questions and answers.

What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is applying engineering and scientific principles when designing a work environment that accommodates the employee in relation to the workplace, product, equipment, tools, workspace and organization of the work. The objective of ergonomics is to fi t the task to the worker, rather than forcing the person to adapt to the work environment. Ergonomics is essentially making jobs user friendly. Benefi ts include: fewer injuries and CTDs; improved productivity; and better performance and quality. Ergonomics is not an overnight proposition. It is a continuous improvement process that minimizes or eliminates workplace risk factors.

What are CTDs?
Cumulative trauma disorders refer to wear and tear on the musculoskeletal system. Common CTDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and lower back disorders. Pain, swelling, infl ammation, burning and stiffness are often associated with CTDs, or they may lead to a CTD.

What are workplace risk factors?
Common workplace risk factors include:

Just because one or more of these risk factors are present in a job does not necessarily mean a CTD will develop. However, especially with exposure to multiple risk factors, the potential for CTD is higher. Conversely, if you eliminate any or all of these risk factors, the potential for overexertion or injury decreases. Use the basic positioning tips below for computer workstations to minimize or eliminate risk factors.

What else can reduce CTDs?
To reduce CTDs and/or the severity of CTDs, you should:

Group activity
Conclude the training by asking each member to identify one key point he or she can apply from today’s discussion. If the discussion leads to making physical changes (e.g., raising or lowering a work height), be sure to document the discussion and follow up appropriately.

References

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/index.html

http://healthycomputing.com/

http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/

http://www.ohiobwc.com/employer/programs/safety/ErgoTools.asp

For more information: Contact the Association office for recommended programs, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or your state Workers’ Comp department.

-- from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Safety Leader's Discussion Guide, 2009