The knee is an extremely unique and versatile joint in the body. Because of this, there are many potential injuries that can arise throughout a range of different postures. For example, excessive kneeling can lead to bursitis, an inflammation of the tissue that lubricates the knee1. Ligament sprains and muscle strains can occur with excessive twisting or poor posture in movements with high forces2. Chronic malalignment of the knee can also lead to patellofemoral pain, tendinitis, and osteoarthritis, which cause pain with knee movements3. Sudden impacts on the knee can lead to fractures or dislocations depending on the direction of the impact1. These are only a few of the common injuries that can impact the knee and its surrounding tissues.
These knee injuries commonly occur in the workplace, when demands are placed on workers that predispose them to injury. According to the workplace safety...
CRE-MSD (2020) has noted that shoulder injuries have the longest recovery time compared to other body parts.
To prevent injuries of the shoulder it is important to know the correct and incorrect postures of the shoulders. Correct posture of the shoulders is the shoulders square and level, and they are relaxed and pulled back. We also want to know the incorrect postures of the shoulder so that we can avoid these postures, which are the shoulders rounded with the palms of the hands facing forward.
Some ways to minimize the risk of shoulder injuries when working include:
When reaching for objects we want to avoid horizontal reaches away from the body as much as possible, as this can cause excess strain on the shoulders and lead to injuries. However, if we do need to engage in this...
According to WSIB, for nine years, up to and including 2019, the leading part of the body injured due to work was the lower back. Awkward posture has consistently been found with ergonomic analysis tools (and common sense) as a risk factor of low back pain.
Practice Good Posture
Some ways to decrease the risk of back injuries are to practice good posture!
Some approaches to decrease awkward posture, according to CRE-MSD (2018), are:
Injuries of the lower back can be extremely debilitating and are common in many different workplaces. Although the symptoms of lower back pain across many scenarios may be similar, the causes of low back pain are hard to identify and can be extremely varied. This is because there are many anatomical structures at risk in the lower back, including nerve roots, muscles, bones, and vertebral discs.1 These structures can be injured through a variety of movements, including heavy lifting, sudden impacts, repetitive bending or twisting, or poor posture in a seated or standing position.1
Because of the many potential mechanisms of injury, lower back pain is one of the most prevalent workplace injuries.2 According to the Ontario Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), in 2019, the lower back was the most common site of injury in valid insurance claims, contributing to a...
What are musculoskeletal disorders?
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries/disorders of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and even nerves. Some well-known MSD are carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, tennis elbow, and trigger finger, although there are many more in addition to these.
The symptoms of MSD are dependent on the type and location of the injury. However, some common symptoms are pain in movement, swelling, reduced range of motion, stiffness, etc.
Some common hazards in the workplace that may cause a worker to develop MSD are,
Over time, these hazards may take a toll on the body and cause injury.
Quick fact: The most affected area regarding MSD is the low back. Some work-related factors that can cause this MSD are lifting with the spine flexed or twisted, repetitive lifting, and sitting or standing on vibrating platforms.
A musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention program is a key component to any successful and healthy workplace setting. But what actually is an MSD prevention program? According to the Ontario Ministry of labour, an MSD can be defined as an injury of the musculoskeletal system typically involving high forces, poor postures, and repetition in tasks.1 To combat these injuries, most organizational MSD prevention programs consist of guidelines and principles designed to reduce certain workplace injury risks and prevent various common workplace injuries such as strains or sprains. These general principles typically target dangerous movements and can be applied uniquely and specifically to individual workplaces and even to individual workstations to ensure that every employee can work safely and with as little risk as possible. The transferability of these interventions is often their main strength, as programs...
Maintaining a work : life balance.
Managing work, time & task requirements for productivity is necessary to get your work finished. It's also important to separate your work from your non-work life. A few simple strategies can help you to stay focused and avoid distractions.
Creating 'rituals' is the best way to create new habits.
Humans are creates of habit, and our habits are triggered by a complex web of our thoughts and environment. Habits are behaviours or thoughts that are repeated until they become automatic for us. The act of logging out of your computer, saying goodbye to co-workers at the end of the workday, walking out the door or getting into your vehicle, taking the commute home (and what you do on that commute) are all routines and there may be triggers that allow us to begin this transition. Creating a ritual for yourself can help you shift between work and home-life. The...
I was really excited to learn the science of how our brains are wired; it fits perfectly to the ergonomic research we know; to avoid sitting for periods of longer than 25-30 minutes at a time for the health of our back, bodies and metabolism! The POMODORO technique for focus and avoiding procrastination recommends that our focused effort is really only good for 25 minutes, then we should take a break for 5 minutes to let our brains switch to a 'diffuse mode' of learning and problem solving. Moving the body during this 5 minute break will improve our posture, metabolism and neural pathways!
I found some fabulous free programs on Coursera (www.coursera.org) . With my 15 year old daughter also home now and adapting to a new way of learning, I thought we would both find some useful strategies in the "learning how we learn" course.
The POMODORO technique made a lot of sense for both of us. Dr. Barbara Oakley explains in her video ...
I've been working from my home office for many years, but usually I am out to employers and clients at least 3 days/ week. Now that I'll be working from home entirely for the next while, it's time to take my own ergonomic consulting advice. Here are some tips for considerations if you are working from home too.
1. Maintaining a work : life balance. Managing work, time & task requirements for productivity and separating work from your non-work life is important. A few things that help me stay focused and shift my mind are:
The Institute for Work and Health recently released an evidence based practical resource for assisting with the Return to Work process.
This quick 4 minute summary explains how workplaces can be prepared, and support their workers, and the process.
DOWNLOAD the RESOURCE: