What are common ergonomic risk factors?
Jobs involving computer use, working with tools, lifting and manual materials handling, or working in a laboratory may pose ergonomic problems if they include one or more of these risk factors:
- Repetition: doing the same motions over and over again.
- Awkward Body Postures: maintaining an unsupported fixed or awkward posture such as bending, reaching, or twisting.
- Force: physical exertion or pressure applied to any part of the body while working, such as lifting, pushing, pulling, or gripping a tool.
- Contact Stress: pressure on soft tissues of the body, such as the soft part of the palm of the hand or the wrist, by tools or sharp edges.
- Vibration: using vibrating or impact tools or equipment.
Not all musculoskeletal risk factors are work-related, including:
- Certain medical conditions: rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy or menopause.
- Free time activities: hobbies or chores that involve repetitive motion, awkward postures, or force for extended periods of time.
Common symptoms of repetitive motion injuries include:
- numbness and tingling
- stiffness or cramping
- inability to hold objects or loss of grip strength
Symptoms that go away overnight are usually a sign of fatigue. Symptoms that are continuous and don't go away overnight may indicate a more serious problem. Those experiencing such symptoms should seek medical attention. Repetitive motion injuries are easier to treat in their early stages. Ignoring symptoms could lead to chronic or serious injury.
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