Yes, and Here’s Why….
Have you ever finished a day’s work at your desk, and stretched to relieve some pesky back or shoulder pain? Have your wrists ever felt uncomfortably locked in one position for an extended period? Have you looked forward to a loving shoulder-rub from your loved one when you finish work, because you have a nagging ache in them?
Although these complaints seem small, every day, and trivially “niggly”, they could be symptoms of a much larger problem: Irreversible nerve damage caused by a poorly designed workstation, bad body posture, or a lack of support to your wrists and hands.
Workplace Stress Facts
The World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr18/en/) reported in 2006 that approximately two million people die worldwide each year as a result of occupational incidents and work related illnesses or injuries. Additionally, over 268 million annual workplace accidents result in an average of three lost workdays per accident, as well as 160 million new cases of work-related illness each year. That was 8 years ago, and today thousands more people slave away at a computer keyboard for many more hours every day.
In Canada, worker’s compensation boards routinely pay billions of Dollars due to workplace absences, and reduced productivity – more than costs concerning Cancer or Cardio-Vascular disease.
These incidents include traumatic events including vehicles, falls, and the results from occupational events outside of the everyday administration environment. However, the stresses to those who live their working lives at a computer keyboard are a ‘silent killer’ that take multiple years to form. They have no reversible cure and not only leave workers in constant pain, but increase disability costs associated with work absenteeism and a rising prevalence of chronic disability in the population that contribute to reduced workplace productivity.
Is there a way for us to reduce the amount of payouts, make workers happier, experience less pain, grow a happier, healthier workplace and stop the slide of productivity?
Yes and the answer is Ergonomics.
Prevention and Collaboration
Even for those that aren’t working in the factory, on the lot, or in dangerous occupations, small changes in working style, office equipment, and working time can answer all of these problems, as well as lower the stress levels of busy interior working environments shared by many individuals. After all, if you have one worker that is short-tempered due to personal pain, how much of this negativity is being spread across the entire office?
In fact, there are guidelines already in place from Governments, Insurers, Unions, and Health Professionals that are readily available at no cost that show a spectrum of informative plans to make your office environment a more pleasant and less painful place to spend your day. It’s valuable to take the time to study these free resources to see what can be easily achieved.
In every office there are similar collaborator networks that can help you: From management to human resources, disability management and trainers. Employees need to access these resources. Even those that work in a home office environment, alone with no-one to hear their pain, need to address posture issues, office equipment, computer keyboards, and do whatever they can to ensure they have a Truly Ergonomic workplace.
It’s time to take a proactive approach to support disability prevention, ergonomically planned workplaces, and to ensure that that small twinge that is hardly worth mentioning, or a very small shoulder inflammation that requires a rub occasionally, isn’t a sign of something bigger. Grow your working productivity, lower your stress, be happier at work, feel less pain, and save yourself from undocumented stress problems that will mount over time and cause major life-long problems later in life.