The term “ergonomics” has been popular in the English language from about 1997 onward. There are three basic branches of the discipline – physical, cognitive and organizational. Most people are aware of ergonomics as they address the workplace environment. Although the discipline is often thought of as a relatively new concept, having been popularized late in the twentieth century, its history predates that.
Ancient Concerns of the Work Environment
You have something in common as you sit at your desk staring at your computer and thinking about your aching back, or shaking out your arm attempting to get feeling back into your fingers after hours of typing. Work-related health problems were reported in ancient times.
Imagine ancient Egyptian scribes complaining of sore backs and cramping fingers as they hunched over papyrus scrolls. Work-related ills plagued employees during ancient Greek and Roman times also. Labor and health concerns have existed for eons.
The term “ergonomics” was coined by Wojciech Jastrzębowski, a Polish scholar. His book, written in 1857, was reprinted with an English translation in 1997 and the term became popularized.
Common Workplace Concerns
While there are many work-related health conditions that can be solved by proper ergonomics, the most common are those brought on by:
- Repetitive motions – typing, phone work, lifting, hammering, etc.
- Not operating in a neutral position – joints are out of alignment and muscles become stressed
- Stasis – staying in one position for long periods of time
- Pulling objects – adds stress to shoulders and other muscles
- Awkward positioning – performing a task in an awkward position while bending, lifting or twisting
Productivity suffers when people are hampered by the discomfort of musculoskeletal injuries. In many cases, individuals feel the pain and continue working until it reaches a level that requires treatment. Much of the discomfort people face in these situations could be alleviated by addressing the ergonomic problems.
Assessment for Solutions
Prevention of musculoskeletal discomfort is attainable through modifications in behavior and workplace environment. Whether you work from home or in a workplace, how you do your work has an impact on your physical well-being.
Getting an ergonomic assessment of your workstation can help you feel better and work more productively. Some companies will provide assessments for their employees. If you work from home, you can get your home office evaluated so you know what changes need to be made for your optimum comfort and productivity.
The Advantages of Ergonomics
Businesses are always eager to find ways to save money. Investing in an ergonomically sound work environment is a way to do that. When employees learn how to perform their jobs using correct body positions, there is less likelihood of injury. Individuals working desk jobs need to learn about neutral body positions and the correct height for chairs, desks, screens and keyboards to ease stress on muscles. They also need to be encouraged to get up and stretch or move about frequently rather than spending hours hunched over the keyboard.
Even if you work from home, investing in an ergonomically optimized environment is well worth the time and expense. It is convenient to not have the responsibility of reporting to an office or workplace every morning; however, you are still susceptible to the same workplace injuries. Assessment of your work area will help you avoid those injuries associated with your type of work.
Work-related health issues have been around since man started working. Throughout the ages, there have been people attempting to address those issues. The crusade continues to make workspaces more comfortable and safer for those who must work there.
Lack of concern in this area leads to ills like carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back problems, strained muscles and more. Addressing it produces higher productivity, more creative thinking and a healthier environment. Ergonomics helps you stay in good shape.
Silicon Valley Orthopaedics provides a variety of services for those suffering from joint pain. We treat carpal tunnel, back problems, shoulder pain and much more. Call us today to schedule your consultation appointment.