Process and Recognition
Even when the design of the workstations
is correct and environmental factors are at their best,
users can face risks from task organization which can
intensify the impact of other risk factors, such as repetition.
Additionally, failing to recognize early
signs could allow small problems to develop into serious
injuries. Addressing task organization factors and medical
awareness can help minimize the risk of developing musculoskeletal
disorders (MSDs) and stop the progression to injury.
- Computer work, whether it's for a job or for
fun, may appear to be a low effort activity
when viewed from a total body perspective, but
maintaining postures or performing highly repetitive
tasks for extended periods can lead to problems
in localized areas of the body. For example,
using a mouse for a few minutes should not be
a problem for most users, but performing this
task for several uninterrupted hours can expose
the small muscles and tendons of the hand to
hundreds or even thousands of activations (repetitions).
There may not be adequate time between activations
for rest and recuperation, which can lead to
localized fatigue, wear and tear, and injury.
Likewise, maintaining static postures, such
as viewing the monitor, for a prolonged period
of time without taking a break can fatigue the
muscles of the neck and shoulder that support
- Provide variation in tasks and workstations
so there is time to recover from the effects
of activity. There are several ways to provide
recovery time for overused muscles.
- Utilize an adjustable workstation so users
can easily change their working
postures. The use of easily adjustable
furniture, for example, allows you to frequently
change seated postures, which allows different
muscle groups to provide support while others
- Ensure that there is enough
space so you can use each hand alternately
to perform mouse tasks. This allows the tendons
and muscles of the free hand to rest.
- Substitute keystrokes for mousing tasks,
such as Ctrl+S to save, Ctrl+P to print. Especially
if your job is highly mouse intensive
Stretching during micro breaks
- High repetition tasks
or jobs that require long periods of static
posture may require several, short rest breaks
(micro breaks or rest pauses).
During these breaks users should be encouraged
to stand, stretch, and move around. This provides
rest and allows the muscles enough time to recover.
- Alternate tasks whenever possible, mixing
non-computer-related tasks into the workday.
This encourages body movement and the use of
different muscle groups.
Be aware of MSD signs
- Employees who have not been adequately trained
to recognize hazards or understand effective
work practices designed to reduce these hazards
are at a greater risk of harm. Without proper
medical awareness, Musculoskeletal Disorders
and symptoms may go unnoticed and un-addressed.
For example, users who do not understand the
risk of bad body postures or techniques do not
have the knowledge to actively participate in
their own protection. Detection and reporting
delays can result in more severe injury.
- Computer users should take the time to obtain
general ergonomics awareness training on the