Research has identified specific risk factors that correspond to an increased likelihood of developing pain or injuries at work. The three most common risk factors should be minimized whenever possible:
Risk Factor 1: Force and Working Distance
- Loads are magnified when held away from our bodies.
- The weight of our body is a significant load when leaning forward.
Risk Factor 2: Awkward Postures
- Working in awkward postures can lead to muscle imbalances and joint damage.
- Do you feel balanced when you work or do you feel the overloaded in one body part?
- Simple tactics like positioning your work between waist and shoulder level can pay immediate dividends.
Risk Factor 3: Static Postures
- Contracting a muscle for more than 20 seconds without rest reduces blood flow, accelerates fatigue and can cause discomfort.
- Do you ‘push through’ to get the job done or do you pace yourself?
The Worst Case. All of the above.
- When there is more than one risk factor, the likelihood of an injury dramatically increases.
As a start – scan your workplace for tasks that involve a lot of force and awkward postures. Chances are you will find pain or injuries nearby.