Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people
and their environment--especially the workplace. Managers,
supervisors, and employees should work as a team to correct
existing ergonomic problems. We are committed to preventing
ergonomic-related injuries. Personnel are urged to discuss
concerns with work areas and tasks which cause physical
stress with their supervisor or the Medical Director.
Good posture can minimize unnecessary back stress by using
good sitting posture, maintaining the three natural curves in
the spine. Employees can maximize comfort while sitting by
learning a few practical posture comfort tips:
1. Use a lumbar support to relieve strain in the lumbar
curve; use a lumbar roll or a towel rolled up to 4-6
inches. Place it in the small of your back. Chair
height should be adjusted so that weight is shifted
forward off the spine and arms are at desk level.
Employees should shift position throughout the day to
keep muscles loose and relieve tension caused by
2. Feet should be kept flat on the floor to help maintain
good sitting posture and aid circulation in the lower
extremities. If feet do not comfortably reach the floor,
a footrest can be used.
Comfort exercises should be performed periodically during a
day of sitting in front of the computer; arms extended to the
keyboard can build up muscle tension and stiffness in the
neck, back, shoulders, hands, wrists, and even fingers.
Warming up exercises can help individuals to relax, loosen
tense muscles and increase blood circulation. Deep breathing
draws fresh air deep into lungs, while reaching high
stretches stiff muscles.
1. Deep Breathing: Inhale through nose and exhale through
mouth, letting stomach expand and contract. Repeat 6
2. Reaching High: Raise hands over head, stretching as high
as possible. Bring arms back down. Rest a moment.
Repeat 2 times.
Additional site-specific exercises:
1. For The Neck: To relieve a stiff neck glide head back, as
far as it will go, keeping your head and ears level
(when done correctly, a double chin is created). Next,
glide your head forward. Repeat 3 times.
2. For The Upper Back: To relieve shoulder and back tension,
raise hands to shoulders. Using arms, push your shoulders
back, keeping elbows down. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat
3. For The Lower Back: To relieve lumbar pressure, lower the
head and slowly roll body as far as possible toward the
knees. Hold for 10 seconds. Using leg muscles, pull
up. Repeat 3 times.
4. For The Shoulders: To relieve shoulder stiffness raise
arms to the sides, elbows straight. Slowly rotate arms
in small circles forward, then backward. Lower arms,
then repeat 3 times.
5. For The Hands and Wrists: To relieve hand and wrist
tension hold right arm out, fingers pointed up. Using
the left hand, gently bend right hand back toward the
forearm; hold 5 seconds. Repeat on the left.
6. For The Fingers: To relieve hand and finger tension hold,
extend hands out to the front, palms down. Spread
fingers apart as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds,
then make a tight fist. Repeat 3 times.
Using eyes does not harm them; however, focusing on a
computer screen for long periods can cause temporary eye
discomfort. The muscles that move and focus eyes can become
strained, making eyes dry and itchy.
Tips for caring for eyes:
Blinking: To keep eyes moist, prevent itching, and aid
in cleaning, blink often.
Reducing Glare: To reduce reflection and glare from
screen, reposition the terminal, tilting the screen or
modifying the lighting.
Palming: To rest eyes from the light, shape hands into
shallow cups and place them lightly over closed eyes.
Hold them there for one minute.
Refocusing: To exercise the muscles that focus lenses,
periodically look away from the computer screen and
focus on an object at least 20 feet away. Repeat three
Eye Rolling: To exercise the muscles that move eyes,
roll eyeballs clockwise 3 times, then counterclockwise 3
times. Make wide circles.
Preventing Repetitive Motion Injury
Simple movements are often used to perform job assignments
throughout the day. Repetition of such movements over and
over again while at work or play may precipitate the
development of repetitive motion injuries (also called
cumulative trauma disorders or CTD).
Certain wrist and hand movements may increase chances of
developing repetitive motion problems.
1. One way to avoid problems is to work with well-designed
tools. Knowing how to hold and use them and learning how
to modify the way in which the wrist and hand are used
can help to avoid harming muscles, nerves or joints.
2. Using tools that are the right size and length for the
hand precludes the need to 'adjust' by using awkward
positions to hold them and prevents having to use too
much force on the wrong part of hand.
3. Using as much of the hand as possible when holding an
object prevents having to 'pinch' the object with the
4. Alternating the use of both hands will allow the hands to
Symptoms and Physical Signs
Any symptoms and/or physical signs should be immediately
reported to the supervisor or to the Medical Director.
Common symptoms to be alert for include:
1. Numbing, burning, or tingling in fingers
2. Pain in wrists
3. Loss of grip or muscle weakness
4. Fatigue or abnormal tiredness
5. Pain in the back, legs, feet, neck or shoulders
Self-Care Tips to Relieve Symptoms
Sometimes, despite efforts to prevent repetitive motion
injury, symptoms appear. Here are some easy self-care tips
which may help to alleviate discomfort:
TAKE A BREAK: One of the best ways to recover is to take
time out. Taking a break gives hands/arms time to rest.
Take lunch or other scheduled breaks and, when possible, vary
ICE: Apply ice to reduce pain and swelling.
STRETCH AND RELAX: In between repetitions, give the overused
parts of hand and arm time to recover.
If prevention efforts and self-care do not stop repetitive
motion symptoms, discuss other alternatives with the
supervisor or Medical Director.
Approved By Governing Board