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Ergonomics & Workplace Safety Center

 

Welcome to the online Ergonomics & Workplace Saftey Center provided by the Grabow Hand to Shoulder Center. Dr.Grabow is committed not only to providing you with high quality personalized care for your traumatic and overuse injuries, but also to help you prevent future injuries or a relapse of your problem.

You will find a wealth of educational information, diagrams, and videos regarding proper ergonomics and workplace safety in this section of our website. Some material has been created by Dr.Grabow other information has been obtained from a variety of sources. An extensive listing of online resources is also provided to enhance your educational experience. Enjoy!


ERGONOMICS

  • Computer Workstation Setup and Use
  • Ergonomics for Construction Workers
  • Electrician, General Contractor, and Paint/Plaster Professionals
  • Airline industry personnel
  • Delivery personnel
  • Healthcare
  • Sewing and Textile industry

WORKPLACE SAFETY

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT: HAND PROTECTION




ERGONOMICS

What is Ergonomics?

The term “ergonomics” is derived from two Greek words: “ergon”, meaning work and “nomoi”, meaning natural laws. Ergonomists study human capabilities in relationship to work demands.

What is its purpose?

In recent years, ergonomists have attempted to define postures which minimize unnecessary static work and reduce the forces acting on the body. The purpose of ergonomics is to provide effective ways to reduce workplace fatigue and possible injury from improper body mechanics.

What are the principles of ergonomics?
  • All work activities should permit the worker to adopt several different, but equally healthy and safe postures
  • Where muscular force has to be exerted it should be done by the largest appropriate muscle groups available.
  • Work activities should be performed with the joints at about mid-point of their range of movement. This applies particularly to the head, trunk, and upper limbs.

What is the problem?

For many jobs, it is difficult if not impossible to always adhere to good ergonomic principles. For example, electricians, drywall installers, and carpenters often have to put themselves into positions in which they are working with their arms overhead for a long time or have to fit into small spaces to do their jobs.  Although these positions are not good in terms of ergonomics they are unfortunately part of performing the job.  To address these occupations, ergonomists try to provide these individuals with recommendations on healthier was to perform many of their tasks.  Sometimes these methods are applicable other times they are not.  The goal is to provide workers with this information and allow them to employ these methods when capable.

Where do I go from here?

No matter what your occupation, there are things you do that can cause muscle fatigue or potential injury.  Most of these problems are not "work related" but simply conditions that can be aggravated by improper body mechanics. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome is very rarely a work related condition, but certainly can be aggravated by your activities at home, at play, and at work. 

The purpose of this online resource is to provide you with information on improving your own body mechanics and apply these techniques to both your personal life and your workplace. Many employers provide on-the-job workplace ergonomic training for their employees. If you work for one of these employers then the materials provided may simply be a review of what you have already been provided. If you have never heard about ergonomics or its principles, this will be a good place to start your education.

Will this tell me if my condition is work related?

No. Work related conditions can only be diagnosed by a physician after a through history and physical exam.  Most patients have a misconception regarding "work related" problems due to misinformation from the media. Carpal tunnel is a perfect example.  Although the media continues to say carpal tunnel is caused by typing or computer use there is no evidence that supports this claim.  Many conditions may be aggravated by what you do at work, but they are just as commonly aggravated by what you do on the weekend and therefore not considered "work related" injuries. Unfortunately, the media's conflicting messages don't do anything but confuse patients and create frustration. If you are concerned your problem may be work related you need to file a claim with your employer and be evaluated by a physician. If you accessing this site you are either a patient of Dr.Grabow or have been referred here by your claims adjuster and this question is a moot point.

CLICK HERE to view our Ergonomics resources

 

 

WORKPLACE SAFETY

  

Overview

Workplace safety is not simply a factory or construction job site issue.  Workplace safety encompasses everything from well lit and clutter free walkways to the availability of safety equipment such as eyeshields, saw blade covers, and ear protection. Some aspects of workplace safety are mandatory by OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) guidelines, while other recommendations are good ideas but not necessarily mandatory workplace requirements. 

Why do I need to learn about this?

If you are reading this section you are either a patient of Dr.Grabow or have been referred here by your work adjuster. If you were injured on the job our goal is to help prevent you from re-injuring yourself in the future. Some aspects of workplace safety are controlled by your employer and other aspects are your responsibility. For example, wearing your safety harness, eye protection, work gloves, and using a push stick for a table saw are your responsibility.  Regardless of the reason, many injured workers are either rushing or deviating from their normal routine when they are injured on the job. Additionally, many patients injury themselves in industrial-like work environments not job related such as their garages, gardens, or backyards. No matter what category you are in, our goal is to provide you helpful recommendations on ways to keep yourself safe at work and at play. 

Is it my job's fault that I got hurt?

Rarely is this the case. As you will see from many of the resources which come from OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) your employer has many requirements in providing a safe working environment and is regularly inspected by OSHA to ensure this is the case.  Workplace violations that OSHA finds on its inspections must be corrected or heavy fines are imposed.  Additionally, from a strictly work production issue, injuries on the job are very bad for business.  For these reasons all employers go out of their way to provide a safe environment for their employees. Unfortunately, a safe environment does not translate into an injury free environment. Just as your home is the number one place for you to experience an accident and injury, your workplace is number two. Workplace injuries are always investigated by your employer to ensure no safety violations occurred and to review the incident to see if new safety protocols need to be implemented. Rest assured they have as much of an incentive to provide a safe environment as you desire to work in one. 

What can I do about workplace safety?

Although you may not be the boss there is much you can do to ensure a safe working environment for yourself and your colleagues. It is easy for us to forget or ignore safety practices we were taught as our workday gets busier. Through the resources provided here, you will hopefully have a good refresher of effective workplace safety practices to keep yourself protected. 

CLICK HERE to view our Workplace Safety Resources 

 

Last updated 12.13.08

 

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