Your Posture & Ergonomics

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the most common result of unsuitable working conditions and can include a sore neck, painful shoulders, headaches and low back pain.

Did you know that in 2013/14 there were 526,000 MSD cases in GB resulting in 8.3 million working days lost?

The number of working days lost due to back-related MSDs was 2.8 million or around 33% with time off averaging 12.3 days per case.

To avoid becoming one of those statistics you need to look after your body and one of the easiest ways to do that is to make sure your working environment is set up correctly.  

Most of us work with a computer and whether you are in an office or working from home a poorly set up workstation can lead to the development of an MSD.

sitting with poor posture

Don’t work like this – head forward, rounded shoulders and back, leaning forward with weight through elbows etc. This can result in MSDs like shoulder pain, neck pain, tennis elbow and low back pain.

Work like this – head upright (the top of the monitor level with your eye line), straight back, bottom at the back of the chair, forearms resting on the desk and your feet flat on the floor (use a footrest if your feet don’t comfortably reach the floor).

Other things that you can do to minimise the risk of developing an MSD include:

  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
  • Look away from the screen and focus on distant objects to reduce eyestrain (Apply the “20 20 20 rule” – every 20 mins, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds).
  • If you spend a lot of time on the telephone, don’t cradle it in your neck get a headset.
  • TAKE REGULAR BREAKS AWAY FROM YOUR DESK!!! (very important this one hence the capitals – take a minimum 5 minute break from your desk every 45-60 minutes).
  • Rather than emailing or calling someone go and see them.
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk and go for a walk during your lunch break.
  • Do some stretches when you are taking a break.

Following the above will help you to avoid those aches and pains, but if you develop a problem that improves when you are not working then it is likely to be work-related.

Thanks to the implementation of the Health & Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations in 1992  your employer has a legal requirement to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems developing while using your workstation in other words if you identify a problem they are legally obliged to resolve it.

If you think your problem is related to your computer work you need to inform your line manager, who must then take action to identify and correct any areas that could be causing the problem.

If you need any advice on your workstation set up, contact us as we have a lot of experience of workstation assessments and treating the problems that can be caused when they are set up incorrectly.

For more advice on posture related pain, or to book an appointment please call us on (01604) 532853

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