Reduce musculoskeletal disorders through ergonomic changes, ASSE advises
Musculoskeletal disorders continue to be among the most significant occupational safety and health problems in the U.S. Safety experts say MSDs affect all industries, and the problem is increasingly on OSHA's radar, according to Jeremy Chingo-Harris, head of the American Society of Safety Engineers' ergonomic branch.
Chingo-Harris announced the development of tips to help reduce MSDs at work and for employees in home offices. The release comes on the heels of the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing MSDs accounted for 28 percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work in 2009.
While the overall rate of MSDs decreased by 9 percent from the previous year, it actually increased by 19 percent among state government workers.
- Chairs should have a five-point base for stability, an adjustable backrest that provides lumbar support, and an adjustable seat pan. Armrests should be padded, adjustable up and down and in and out, and should swivel.
- Document holders should be provided when the primary task is data entry and should be the same height and distance from the user as the display screen.
- Keyboards should be detachable and adjustable to allow straight/parallel hand-forearm posture.
- Desk/tabletops should allow enough legroom for posture adjustments when the worker is sitting and provide a 90-degree angle of the elbow and work surface.
- Lighting should be such that the characters on the computer screen are brighter than the screen background. Bright light in the peripheral field of the computer screen should be avoided and the screen should be positioned to avoid glare.
- Floor surfaces should be in good condition to prevent falls, especially in home offices.
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December 27, 2010
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