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Creating an ergonomically correct workstation

In Pennsylvania, workers should be more aware of the dangers posed by repetitive injuries. One way they can be protected is with closer attention to ergonomics. Simply achieving the right angle for wrists can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, and contact stress can be minimized with the use of ergonomically correct working materials.

Achieving an ergonomically-correct workstation starts with looking at the body position. Workstations should be low enough that forearms and wrists are parallel to the floor. Shoulders should be relaxed, and feet should be flat on the floor or slightly elevated. Eye strain can be avoided by maintaining a distance of at least 16 inches between the eyes and monitor.

When these guidelines are followed, the risk for injury to the worker is reduced. There is a wide range of body types among workers, so no two workstations should be exactly alike. Employers can help protect their staff by investing in sit-stand stations, adjustable-height desks, footrests and other ergonomically correct equipment. The Army Institute of Public Health's Ergonomics Program has been serving civilian and military workers across the country to help reduce the risk of work-related injuries caused by repetitive motions and static postures.

Workers who are straining their bodies to accommodate outdated work stations may have a higher risk of injury. Some people choose to invest in their own equipment that can go with them from one job to another. Others may be able to present their employers with a doctor's note suggesting specific types of equipment and asking to have it purchased. Those who suffer these types of injuries may be entitle to receive workers' compensation benefits.

Source: The Fort Campbell Courier, "Prevent ergonomic injuries in workplace", Jay Clasing, October 16, 2014

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