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Preventing Work Injury at a Desk Job

work-injury-desk-jobWhen people think of workplace injuries, they often picture factories or construction sites, but office jobs have their own work-related hazards. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) like carpal tunnel syndrome, low back injury, and muscle strains cause 33 percent of all work-related illness and injury.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees, and the number and severity of those MSDs can be substantially reduced by applying ergonomic principles.

There are many Do-It-Yourself “hacks” workers can use in their own workspaces to reduce strain and promote healthy movements, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • A chair that supports your spinal curves should be adjusted so that your feet rest flat on the floor with thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Key objects such as telephone, stapler, or printed materials should be kept close to minimize reaching.
  • The phone should not be cradled between the head and neck. Consider using a phone rest or a headset instead.
  • The computer monitor should be arms’ length away and directly in front of you.

It is important to move around through the work day; some research suggests taking a five-minute break at the start of every hour to walk around the office. Static postures inhibit blood circulation, so simple stretches should be done at the desk, such as rotating your ankles and flexing your calves.