While we often consider safety risks for certain activities we partake in, other risk factors for everyday tasks are a bit less obvious. Ergonomics is the science of human safety and capabilities in the workplace and at home.
As part of National Safety Month in June, take time to evaluate how you can keep yourself safe and secure in all that you do.
Ergonomics affects so many aspects of our daily lives—including how we sit, sleep, stand, lift, and reach. If not practiced properly, repetitive actions can lead to overused muscles, poor posture, and eventually to injury. As we age, our muscle and bone mass naturally decreases, which can lead to stiff joints and limited mobility.
No matter what activities you partake in at home, at work, or anywhere else, it’s important to make sure you’re safe and comfortable at all times. The following tips can provide a helpful starting point to assessing your ergonomic safety.
- When sitting at a computer, make sure to keep feet flat on the ground, position monitor at eye level, and keep wrists flat and straight. Sit up straight—even the most expensive chair won’t protect you from creating tension in the neck and back without proper form.
- If you’re sitting in one spot for a prolonged amount of time, take breaks to get up and walk around every hour to avoid slouching or slumping. Tighten and relax your abdominal muscles a few times in a row to improve core strength and keep your back safe.
- Wear supportive footwear, especially when standing. Supportive shoes help maintain the body’s center of gravity and alignment of the spine.
- When lifting something from the ground, bend only at the knees and hips, keep the object close to your body, and avoid twisting while lifting.
- Get regular aerobic exercise—such as running, walking, or swimming—to help the muscles of the back stay strong and promote good posture.
- Aside from posture and proper bodily techniques, proper lighting is important to keep eyes healthy and reduce the risk for eye strain. Position lighting to avoid glare on screens and use task lighting as needed.
Staying proactive and practicing proper techniques in everyday activities can be the difference in staying safe and healthy!