But not all hazards are quite so obvious.
Ergonomic hazards such as bad posture, poorly designed workstations and repetitive movements may not seem as dramatic as a fall from height, but the long-term effects can be just as devastating.
So what are some of these potential hazards?
Read on to identify some of the potential health hazards in your work environment and learn how to avoid injury with some simple changes.
Whether you work on a production line or sitting in an office, correct workstation design plays a vital role in ensuring you stay healthy.
Each piece of equipment you use – from your chair and keyboard to the till in reception – should be placed correctly to reduce stress and strain on your body.
Placement of equipment is just as important as height. If you have to twist around to reach for the phone all day every day, this movement will play havoc over time and could lead to short-term fatigue and pain, as well as serious long-term injuries.
In fact, repetitive stress injuries are among the most common health complaints in the workplace.
Here are some of the most common ergonomic hazards in the office:
- Chairs – if you spend most of your day sitting, you need to ensure your chair provides good support to your lower back and shoulders, as well as adequate cushioning, and correctly placed armrests.
- Computer monitors – these should be at eye level when you sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
- Keypads and mouse – if these items are at the wrong height, you are putting additional pressure on your wrists and shoulders.
With the right workstation setup, your posture should naturally be supported. If you find yourself leaning forward or slouching while you work, this is an indication that your devices are not placed correctly. This can lead to long term pain, tightness in your muscles and RSI.
Repeated Movement or Lack Of Movement
Sitting for too long stresses the body, as muscles and ligaments are stuck in the same position for hours at a time. Taking regular breaks – even 60 seconds to stand, stretch, or walk around the office - can make a world of difference.
Alternatively, desks that can be adjusted to a standing or sitting height are a great option.
Artificial lighting can have an impact on energy levels and productivity. Insufficient or incorrect lighting can cause headaches, eye strain, fatigue and nausea. Providing a light source sufficient for the job at hand is essential, and natural light is highly recommended in an office environment where possible.
Many of us ignore niggling aches and pains at work and push through discomfort to get the job done. However, minor health issues can quickly develop into serious problems and impact your ability to work at all.
Treatment for repetitive strain injuries can be costly as well as time-consuming and require long periods off work. Taking simple steps to prevent workplace hazards is a much better solution.
Regular workplace massage is an excellent way to reduce the risk of both short-term and long-term discomfort and injury. Even a 15-minute massage can ease tired and aching muscles while increasing blood flow to problem areas and helping the body (and mind) relax.
If you want to try it at your workplace, then get in touch with us here at Bodyworkz. We can fly our massage superheroes out to see you in no time at all!