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Pennsylvania workers can use ergonomics to help avoid injury

Repetitive motion injuries that affect workers can sometimes be avoided. Using tips and suggestions from ergonomics experts may help to reduce the likelihood that debilitating injuries will occur, potentially allowing workers and employers to save billions of dollars annually.

Lost time from work and productivity can decrease in frequency with some simple changes for more healthy work environments. Reducing employee injury from repetitive tasks is one way to keep everyone working and reduce pain. Experts agree that even the simplest daily task, if done incorrectly, can place too much stress on a particular tendon, joint or muscle, resulting in time lost from work.

The science of ergonomics relates to fitting workplace conditions to the tasks being performed and employees' abilities and involves three basic principles. The first is that lifting should always be done with the largest muscle group available, such as using the legs instead of the back to pick up heavy objects. The second principle involves the ability of employees to move around throughout the workday, since staying in one position for too long leads to muscle fatigue. The third is related to how the joints move naturally; employees should be able to keep their joints at natural and comfortable positions at all times. For example, the use of ergonomic keyboards for employees involved in heavy computer use can help to avoid such injuries as carpal tunnel.

A workplace injury does not have to happen suddenly but can occur gradually until every day ordinary tasks become difficult or impossible to perform. In some cases, the affected worker must leave a job that provides income to the family. Since the source of gradual injuries can be difficult to prove, a workers' compensation attorney could acquire all of the necessary paperwork to seek appropriate benefits for the worker.

Source:, "Workplace ergonomics", June 18, 2014

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