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Protecting employees with healthier workstations

As an employer, it's important to understand that neck strain, back pain and muscle fatigue isn't just confined to your employees who do heavy lifting or work in the company warehouse. In fact, those employees who spend the majority of their workday seated at a workstation in front of a computer are just as likely -- if not more so -- to develop serious work injuries that can keep them away from their desks for prolonged periods of time.

In fact, prolonged sitting has been linked to a variety of adverse medical conditions, including cancer and even diabetes.

"We've been trying to tell people this for a long time," said Noam Sadovnik, a New York City-based chiropractor. "We're just really not designed to sit for prolonged periods of time."

What then can employers do to ensure the physical wellbeing of their sedentary employees?

According to experts, encouraging employees to take walks or standing breaks is a good first step, as well as introducing them to some basic exercises. All of these steps can go a long way toward preventing musculoskeletal injuries.

More important, they claim, is instructing employees on how to maintain proper posture while working at their computer workstations. Doing so can prevent serious and debilitating work injuries, saving both time and money.

Neck, Head and Back

Employees should be positioned to look directly at the computer monitor in front of them. Unnecessary bending of the head and neck can create unnecessary muscle strain.

Employees should also take care to sit with their backs perpendicular to the floor and avoid hunching their shoulders.

Hands and Wrists

Employees should avoid bending their wrists either upward or downward for prolonged periods. Instead, they should try to keep them at a 90-degree angle. This can help prevent the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Arms and Shoulders

Employees should try to keep their arms parallel to the floor and avoid prolonged reaching or elevation. The upper arms and shoulders should also be kept close to the body and the forearms relatively straight.

Legs and Feet

Employees positioned in front of a computer screen should try to keep their feet resting on an ergonomic footrest or flat on the floor. At the same time, the lower legs should typically be kept perpendicular to the floor while their upper legs should be parallel to the floor.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or medical advice.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

Sources:

The Huffington Post, "Sitting all day? Head-to-toe tips for a healthier workstation," Sarah Klein, May 30, 2012

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "OSHA Ergonomic Solutions: Computer Workstations"

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