Prevention of Injuries in the Office workplace
In our physiotherapy practice, we see a lot of people with injuries that could have been prevented with some easy steps. From a business point of view, it is important to try and prevent injuries from happening as it can be quite costly to the business when staff are out of action.
An injured employee may be out of the workplace for some time until they recover, reducing productivity and costing more for Workers Compensation insurance as well. There is also the risk of your employee suing you if it is found that their injury could have been prevented.
Simple things, like maintenance of a safe worksite, include making sufficient space for people to be able to move around safely. Keeping floors trip hazard free, ensuring that hard floors are slip-free and dry and securing any objects that could move if someone leant on it. These types of precautions will help to prevent injuries such as falling over and tripping over things.
It is also important to ensure that any equipment in the workplace is in good working order. If an office chair has a faulty gas lift it could mean that the person sitting on the chair is either sitting too high or too low. Worse still, the chair may lower all of a sudden and without warning, resulting in spinal jarring.
Good office chairs for office workers are essential but also good chairs for any workers who are required to sit are essential in order to maintain support of the spine and posture. Correct desk height is also essential to avoid postural stresses caused by maintaining postures that are not aligned well.
Many offices now will give their workers stand up desks or desks that can be used in either a sitting or standing position. The change in postures helps to avoid accumulation stressors on the body and therefore can help to prevent neck or lower back strains. It is also essential for the person working at the desk to get up from the desk or walk away from the desk every hour in order to get some movement back into the body and therefore relieve any stress that has built up in the body as a result of their working posture.
Another way to avoid injury is to ensure that your employees have a variety of tasks to do so that they are not doing the same thing all of the time. This will also prevent accumulation stressors arising and then help to prevent injury from occurring.
Office workers should have access to a place where they are free to perform some exercises that will help them to perform their duties safely and that will help to eliminate any built up stress that has accumulated in any of the muscles or joints.
A program designed by a physiotherapist specifically to help your employees maintain strength, fitness , and postural strength can reduce the number of days your employees have off sick due to pain and may even help productivity.
An assessment of the work environment by a qualified physiotherapist can help to identify any issues. It is helpful then for that physiotherapist to assess all of the employees in the workplace in order to identify any movement weaknesses, Range of motion problems, postural problems or anything else to do with the body that can then be corrected for the employee to be able to perform their job in more comfort and with less risk of injury.
An experienced physiotherapist will be able to identify risk factors with regards to individual workers. A general exercise program is great for creating a culture of health within the workplace and also will help to maintain strength, range of motion, posture and endurance of the individuals in the workplace. This program could be as simple as a 10 minute exercise session per day that the employees can do on site and which will help prevent injuries and days lost in sick leave due to pain.
Because most office workers come in with injuries connected to their posture, postural correction and strengthening is the key. Most will complain of a painful neck or eye strain if their computers are not positioned correctly and some neck strengthening exercises are vital for these clients. We have found that a pain prevention “Tool Kit” in the workplace can be helpful. This Tool Kit would comprise of a Neck Tek and pilates ball to help strengthen the neck and upper back. Bands to help strengthen the glutes are also included as those who work a lot at a desk are at risk of weakened glutes and therefore are predisposed to lower back pain. The kit may also include a swiss ball to help maintain spinal mobility.
Our Pain Slayers are experts at designing programs to help your most important asset, your employees remain happy, active and pain free.