Use the information and resources below to prevent sprains and strains in your workplace.
Involve your employees when looking for solutions:
- They are the experts in their work. They know the most demanding tasks, and they probably already have some simple improvement ideas. They’ll also accept changes better if they participate in making them.
Find quick fixes to get momentum going:
- Don’t over-complicate fixes. A quick and simple solution, like rearranging a storage area to reduce lifting, or raising a counter-top to reduce bending can create enthusiasm by showing how effective and simple ergonomics can be.
Focus on effective solutions:
- Changes to work practices and equipment often can eliminate or substantially reduce injury risk. Search the Ergonomics Ideas Bank to help you find effective solutions. Training in proper work practices is important and should accompany any new equipment or procedures, but training alone isn’t very effective in reducing injuries.
Expect results, but be patient:
- Ergonomics tools and practices keep workers healthy and increase productivity, quality and employee morale. However, you shouldn't be discouraged if these results are not immediate. You should consider all of the benefits when calculating the return on investment, not just reduced claims costs.
You can quickly and easily fix many of the hazards that lead to sprain and strain injuries. Look at the tasks in your workplace and use the simple solutions below to make the work safer and easier.
Lifting from the floor doubles your risk of back injury compared to lifting at waist level.
Pushing lets you use your body weight and larger muscles to move a load.
Shorter reaches to tools, materials and supplies means less strain on your arms, shoulders and back.
Keeping your hands below your head reduces stress on your shoulders and neck.
Gripping with the whole hand uses stronger muscles than pinching with your fingers. This means less strain on your hands and fingers.
You have more grip strength and you'll feel less strain on your hands and wrists.
7. Roll it
Use carts, hand trucks and conveyors instead of carrying items. Carrying is hard on your hands, arms and back, and can make a slip or trip more likely.
Too much bending, kneeling and squatting puts strain on your back, knees and hips.
Tipping, tilting or twisting your head to see your work places strain on your neck and shoulders.
Using tools with high vibration reduces your hand strength and dexterity, and increases the chance of injury.
11. Change it up
Moving the same way over and over for a long time can lead to fatigue, mistakes and injury. Reduce how often and how long risky tasks are done.
Set your work a little below elbow height when you have to use more force. Set your work a little above elbow height when the task needs a light touch and a better view.
The table below can help you choose an effective solution.
|Solution||Does it prevent injuries?|
|An ergonomics process to find and fix hazards||Yes. Learn more about the process here.|
|Mechanical lifting device (hoist, vacuum lift, and so on)||Yes.|
|Lift table to eliminate low lifts||Yes.|
|Safe lifting techniques training||No, but good technique can work along with other solutions. Learn how to make lifting safer here.|
|Job rotation||Probably not. Learn more about job rotation here.|
|Stretching programs||Probably not. Learn more about stretching programs here.|
|Body mechanics training||No.|
|Workstation evaluations without employee involvement||No. But evaluations that involve employees can be effective.|
|Sit-stand workstations||Maybe. Training on how to use the workstations can help.|
|Training without other workplace improvements||Most of the time, no.|
|Putting equipment in place without training employees on how to use it||Most of the time, no. Find out why training needs to be part of your prevention process here.|
|Exoskeletons||Too soon to tell. Find out more about exoskeletons here.|
|Anti-fatigue mats||Maybe. They can help with comfort. Find out more about anti-fatigue mats here.|
|Knee pads||Sometimes. They help prevent bruises and scrapes, but may not prevent long-term knee injuries.|
|Anti-vibration gloves||Only in very limited cases. You can read more about anti-vibration gloves here.|
|Back belts||No. You can read more about back belts here.|