Common Office-Related Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Common Office-Related Injuries and How to Prevent Them

In today’s increasingly sedentary work environments, office-related injuries are becoming more prevalent. These injuries, often caused by repetitive strain, poor posture, and inadequate workspace design, can lead to chronic pain and long-term health issues.

Understanding the common types of office-related injuries and how to prevent them is crucial for maintaining a healthy and productive work environment.

Common Office-Related Injuries

1. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)

RSIs occur from performing repetitive tasks, such as typing or using a mouse, for extended periods. This category includes conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and bursitis. Symptoms often include pain, stiffness, and numbness in the affected areas.

2. Back and Neck Pain

Poor posture can lead to back and neck pain, especially while sitting for long hours. Inadequate lumbar support and improperly adjusted chairs exacerbate these issues. Over time, this can result in chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders.

3. Eye Strain

Prolonged exposure to computer screens can cause digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. Symptoms include dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Blue light from screens can further contribute to eye discomfort.

4. Shoulder Pain

Reaching for a mouse or other equipment placed too far away can strain the shoulder muscles. Additionally, slouching or hunching over a desk can contribute to shoulder pain.

5. Leg Pain and Circulation Issues

Sitting for long periods can lead to poor circulation in the legs, causing discomfort and increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Swelling and pain in the legs and feet are common symptoms.

Preventing Office-Related Injuries

1. Ergonomic Workstation Setup

  • Adjustable Chair: Invest in an ergonomic chair with adjustable height, backrest, and armrests. Ensure it provides adequate lumbar support to maintain the natural curve of the spine.
  • Desk Height: We recommend getting a height-adjustable desk. The desk height should allow your forearms to be parallel to the floor and your feet flat on the ground. Use a footrest if necessary to achieve proper posture.
  • Monitor Position: Place the monitor at eye level, about an arm’s length away, to prevent neck strain. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level.
  • Keyboard and Mouse: Position the keyboard and mouse at the same height, ensuring your wrists are straight and your arms close to your body. Consider using a split keyboard or an ergonomic mouse to reduce strain.

2. Proper Posture and Movement

Sitting Posture:

  • Back Support: Sit back in your chair with your back fully supported. Avoid slouching or leaning forward.
  • Feet Placement: Keep your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest, avoiding crossing your legs.
  • Frequent Breaks: Take regular breaks to stand, stretch, and move around. Aim for a short break every 30 minutes to reduce the risk of static posture-related injuries.

Standing Desks:

  • Alternating Between Sitting and Standing: Consider using a sit-stand desk to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. This can help reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting. 

3. Eye Care

Screen Adjustments:

  • Reduce Glare: Position your monitor to minimise glare from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if necessary.
  • Adjust Brightness and Contrast: Ensure the screen brightness and contrast are set to comfortable levels to reduce eye strain.

The 20-20-20 Rule:

  • Eye Breaks: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This practice helps reduce digital eye strain.

4. Keyboard and Mouse Techniques

Typing and Mouse Use:

  • Gentle Touch: Use a light touch when typing and clicking the mouse to avoid unnecessary strain.
  • Shortcuts: Learn keyboard shortcuts to reduce the amount of mouse use.

5. Regular Exercise and Stretching 

Exercise:

  • Strengthening and Flexibility: Engage in regular physical activity that includes strengthening and flexibility exercises. Strong core muscles, in particular, can help support good posture.
  • Workstation Exercises: Incorporate simple stretching and strengthening exercises into your workday. Stretch your hands, wrists, and forearms regularly to prevent RSIs.

Conclusion 

Office-related injuries are a significant concern in today’s sedentary work environments, but they are largely preventable. By understanding the common types of injuries and implementing ergonomic principles, workers can create a healthier, more comfortable workspace. Proper workstation setup, maintaining good posture, regular movement, eye care, correct typing techniques, and regular exercise are all critical components in preventing these injuries.

Embracing ergonomics not only enhances worker well-being but also boosts productivity, creating a win-win situation for both employees and employers. For ergonomic office furniture in Singapore, check out TakeASeat. You can browse our online store or head down to our furniture shop in Woodlands for more information.