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What Are the Ergonomic Issues In the Workplace? Reasons? Solutions?

Not some, but every occupation has ergonomic issues that, if not carefully handled, could lead to a lot of risk to our health, early retirement, less wealth accumulation, and inability to perform social duties.

Therefore, it is vital to be aware of ergonomic issues related to your work to know how to handle such issues when they arise, adopt, and adhere to the right ergonomic posture while at the workplace. The ergonomic problems commonly arise from the neck, shoulders, joints, eyes, fingers, lumbar region, hip, and many more.

In this article, we will cover in detail ergonomic related to your work, and at least you will understand why it is crucial to adhere to ergonomic rules while at work.


Why Employers Should Be Concerned About Ergonomic Issues in the Workplace?

ergonomic issues in the workplace

At the workplace, ergonomic is how employees interact with their working environment and adjust to the conditions for the safety of their physical health, work production, and improve their efficiency.

Therefore, ergonomic issues at the workplace should prioritize your employer because an individual’s body characteristics and condition significantly impact the company’s production. However, there are more reasons as to why employers should be concerned about ergonomic issues in the workplace, these include;

• Safety

Ergonomic and safety are both co-related at the workplace for the human being’s physical health while working and play a vital role in the company’s success since the employees feel that the safety of their health is the priority the workplace, it motivates them to work.

• To reduce compensation risks

Companies and institutions spend a lot of money on compensating employees when they get injured at work. Paying health covers and salaries for the days they were recuperating, reducing the company’s business efficiency and production also increase the government social security costs.

Hence, for employers to mitigate such is to invest in ergonomic equipment at work.

• To prevent ergonomic health issues related to work

The safety measures can be used to identify ergonomic risks and hazards related to the workplace and those at stake when exposed to such risks. This will help to adopt adequate preventive measures and monitor such risks at the workplace.

Thus, the adopted preventive measures should help to reduce/relieve the employees load on the body because they are the factor that contributes to Musculoskeletal disorders {MLD} which is one of the major causes of the health issues related to work.

• Financial Benefits

Did you know that adhering to ergonomic safety measures and investing in ergonomic equipment as an employer rewards and pays back a lot?

This is because the safety activities and proper use of the equipment reduce occupational injuries and accidents, thereby improving the company’s production, reducing staff absenteeism, reducing cost and risks of compensation, and boosting the employees’ morale at work and retention.

Hence, resulting in savings and the company’s products because the workplace is safer for your employees.

• To improve Employees Engagement

When the employee is well taken care of by the employer by investing in her comfort, health, and safety, it boosts the employee’s morale to work, which enhances her engagement, thereby reducing absenteeism and turnover.

• Improves the Quality of work

When the employee is tired before the official hours of work is over, there are possibilities of her getting frustrated and end up performing in an unprofessional as expected, especially in jobs that demand physical abilities and strength than to the staff who works in a place where ergonomics rules are highly considered.


Common Ergonomic Injuries Symptoms in the Workplace

Failure to correct ergonomic issues at the workplace can lead to physical health implications. You will start feeling immediately, and mostly they are related to your occupation, thereby affecting your work efficiency. Below are the common ergonomic injuries symptoms in the workplace;

• Musculoskeletal Disorders {MSD}

Most of the workers who lift heavy items, twist, push, or tugging heavy loads are always at risk of sustaining many injuries due to slipping, falling, or tripping. This leads to injuries or accidents that might affect/cause damage to the muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries are the most reported cases that have resulted in absenteeism at workplaces.

Furthermore, some occupations such as nursing, childcare, construction also put workers at risk because they mostly demand an awkward body posture while performing the daily tasks, thereby exposing you to the dangers of developing MSD.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

• Cumulative Trauma Disorders {DTS}

When you do complete the natural body movements due to contracting and relaxing muscles, Cumulative trauma disorder is caused due to ergonomic issues. This ergonomic injury occurs when there is repeated stress on tendons, muscles, or nerves, thereby resulting in inflammation of those organs, making your body unable to complete the natural movements.

DTS can also be caused by prolonged typing, poor posture, lengthy time at the workstation, and insufficient posture changes. Below are the symptoms that show you have developed CTDs;

-Feeling numb, achy, painful, throbbing, and tingly, especially some parts of your arm and legs.
-Your hands or fingers feel weaker or poorly coordinated.
-Sharp pain, feeling discomfort, numbness, burning, or tingling in the middle of the night, especially your leg and arms.

• Lower Back Pain

This is the most common ergonomic related issue in workplaces, and most employees have gone through this issue.

Lower back pain is caused by daily activities like lifting heavy objects while using an improper body posture, improper lifting technique, and sitting in a chair not suitable for your body.

However, lower back pain could be a significant problem if your occupation involves prolonged sitting or standing, poor posture, repetitive movements, neck stress due to typing or scanning, which can cause lower back pain.

Other Common ergonomic injuries symptoms in the workplace include;

  • Coldness or discoloration of the affected area
  • Swelling of inflammation
  • Joint stiffness
  • Visual fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning or watery eyes
  • Frequent headaches

Common Ergonomic Injuries Symptoms in the Workplace


What Could Be a Cause of Ergonomic Injury?

It is good to understand the practices and risk factors that might expose you to ergonomic injuries to avoid possible injuries and productivity loss due to increased risks of straining and injuries. Some of the causes of ergonomic injuries are as follows;

• Poorly designed or maintained tools and equipment

When the tool and equipment are poorly designed and maintained, they make work performance very strenuous because you will move awkwardly to contort your body to perform a task.

When you do this repetitively daily, it can cause excessive fatigue and, if prolonged, can result in injury.

• Desk set-up

A desk set up also contributes a lot to the ergonomic posture. Thus, when the desk has a low set up will cause poor posture causing the shoulder, back, and neck to stress and strain a lot leading to back pain by causing problems with muscles, joints, and disc in those organs, eventually leading to injuries and complications.

What Could Be a Cause of Ergonomic Injury

• Prolonged Repetitive Tasks

This refers to frequently using the same joint and muscle groups to perform the same task repetitively will eventually cause a lot of fatigue to those body organs, thereby causing injuries if not well handled since the body does not recover properly after the exhaustion.

• Vibration

Prolonged use of vibrating tools is dangerous and exposes you to a lot of risks. Since the body vibrates a lot when using these tools, it will damage the small capillaries responsible for supplying nutrients and ions in your body, leading to less sensitivity in the affected area, stiffness, and sometimes a lot of pain.

• Exerting Too Much Force/pressure

The more you exert too much pressure in your body due to heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling, the more your body strains and stresses, causing many injuries to the affected area due to little time for recovery leading to ergonomic injuries.


What Jobs May Cause Ergonomic Issues at High Risk?

As mentioned earlier, most of the occupations do contribute a lot to ergonomic injuries. Still, most of those who experience these injuries hardly observe or notice the reason behind it is due to their occupation. Hence, they repetitively do the same tasks daily, thereby resulting in the severe complication of the future if not well handled. Some of the jobs most at risks of causing ergonomic issues include;

• Construction Workers

Construction workers are highly exposed to ergonomic injuries due to prolonged awkward positions, repetitive arm-hand movements, controlling vibrating tools, and heavy lifting; thus, they can quickly develop MSD and CTS.

• Computer and office workers

While typing using a keyboard, your hands are always in a repetitive motion. You will always be remain seated for a long time leading to poor posture, especially if you are using a poorly adjusted workstation.

Additionally, while using the desktop, possibilities of developing contact stress and glare are risk factors of using a poorly designed computer workstation. This person is going to experience a lot of headaches before the end of the day.

Jobs Most at Risks of Causing Ergonomic Issues

• Child care Workers

Most child care workers do a lot of bending, pushing, standing, lifting, and pulling, thus causing awkward postures when taking care of the kids, playing with them, and changing their diapers. This leads to strain in the lumbar region, neck, shoulders, and joints, causing them to have injuries related to poor posturing.

• Foodservice handlers/workers

The foodservice industry demands a lot of physical strength while preparing the food because you are involved in many movements, lifting, lifting, pulling, forceful exertions, awkward postures, and standing for extended periods. These risk factors will lead to ergonomic injuries.

• Healthcare Professional

Regardless of Doctors and nurses being in the most healthy career, they know that they are highly susceptible to ergonomic injuries because they daily handle patients while standing for prolonged hours, work in cramped areas, and move heavy machines. Hence, exposing them to risk factors that can lead to ergonomic injuries.

• Production Workers

Production workers do a lot of repetitive assembly work, heavy lifting, and operate machines while standing for extended hours at work at the plants. Hence they are exposed to ergonomic injuries since their eyes strain a lot, they exert a lot of weight, and they strain a lot leading to the risk of developing CTS, lower back pain, and MSD.

ergonomic issues in the workplace

Other jobs that are highly susceptible to risks of causing ergonomic issues include;

  • Cleaners
  • Drivers
  • Cashiers
  • Laboratory workers
  • Material handlers
  • Trades and custodial workers


How to Protect Employees from Getting Ergonomic Injuries as an Employer?

Since employers understand how much ergonomic injuries affect the production and how much they spend paying health covers and compensation to the employees when they get injured at the workplace.

Thus, they ensure that they protect their employees by taking proactive steps to both prevent and mitigate these issues to preserve the health of their workforce and their interest. Below are the ways to utilize ergonomics to reduce risks, these include;

• Investing in safety equipment

Employers’ best way to protect the employees is to invest in the comfort of their employees by providing suitable safety equipment that ensures that the employees do not feel burdened/overworked at work and encourages healthy posture and comfort while working.

Some of the ergonomic equipment at work include; ergonomically designed chairs, cushioned floor mats, machinery to assist in carrying loads, knee pads to reduce knee pain in case they kneel, and many more.

• Educating Employees and consistently communicating on the importance of ergonomics

One of the best ways of ensuring that the staff is protected against ergonomic injuries is by creating awareness. Besides, reminding them frequently to adjust repetitive movements, take breaks, use protective equipment, and take safety measures at work to avoid hazards to reduce ergonomic injuries.

However, consistently communicating with the staff on the importance of adhering to the ergonomic rules through discussions and training will help implement the ergonomic regulations to benefit the employees and employers.

• Implementing rules and strategies of adhering to ergonomic rules

Now here is where the role of HR should be fully applied because they are employed to offer a piece of professional advice and address the issues related to ergonomic injuries.

And the only way to protect the employees is to implement rules and strategies, it helps guide them to use safety units and equipment at the workplace, in order to reduce injuries, boost their performance at work and improve production.

• Measure and Evaluate Progress

After providing training to the employees about the importance of adhering to ergonomics and injuries, you should ensure that the ergonomic programs are active and are improved through measures and evaluation.

When taking steps and evaluation, it offers the employee the opportunity to confirm if the ergonomic rules and goals, equipment, and strategies benefit them to their interest or if there is something that needs an improvement to ensure long-term success in the workplace.

• Obeying the chain of Command

This idea might seem awkward, but it is for the benefit of an employee’s safety and wellbeing as long he/she is part of the company.

Therefore, senior management should display their support and have a powerful authority to ensure that the workplace’s ergonomic rules have strictly adhered. This will help create a strong commitment by the staff to the practices from every organization level.



It has always been difficult for most employees at the workplace to abide by the rules and strategies regarding ergonomic regulations. Still, it is essential to consider them because these measures will help you as an employee have a healthy life concerning your relation so as not to retire earlier before your time arrives because the next generation depends a lot on your wealth accumulation.

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