Over the years since the use of computers and other office equipment has become part of workers’ daily tasks; there has been an increase in employees’ problems related to back pain.
It is easy to see why the spine absorbs physical injuries in the workplace. In offices, for example, workers may sit in cubicles without realizing the position of their office chairs, desks and angle of a computer screen is the cause of back pain.
The Role of Ergonomics to Relieve Back Pain at the Office
Employers have become more aware of the potential for worker back pain resulting from lack of ergonomic office design.
While many employers try to reduce unnecessary worker motion by designing office equipment in close proximity to cubicles and desks, the lack of motion, such as walking a dozen steps to a copier or water fountain limits physical realignment of the spinal column from a sitting position to a standing and moving position.
Today, ergonomic design of office space provides greater physical movement as a break from sedentary work.
There are several other things to do to help reduce the risk of back pain:
- Observe workers’ sitting positions
- Choose ergonomically designed desks and chairs
- Avoid leaning forward over a computer keyboard
- Keep a computer mouse close to the keyboard
- Observe the position of head and neck during computer use
- Keep feet flat on the floor and about 12 inches apart
- Pay attention to breathing patterns during the course of work
- Take breaks at least once during a work hour
- Get plenty of exercise after work hours like walking, swimming, jogging or yoga
OSHA Regulations on Preventing Lower Back Injury
Workers who are required to perform lifting in office environments often experience lower back injuries due to tearing in joints and ligaments.
However, OSHA notes that poor posture also causes pain just as “twisting, straining or bending” repetitively can cause lower back injuries.
How Safety Training Helps Limit Back Pain at the Office
In addition to OSHA guidelines for workplace back pain, employers and workers should both be provided with safety training courses of study. These are found online at 360training.com.
With a comprehensive safety training program for the workplace, workers become more fully informed of how to help avoid the types of physical strain on the back and sedentary work environments that cause back pain.
Employers can also take note of the number of workers with chronic complaints of back pain and provide on-site exercise programs from trained physical therapy experts.