Working From Home: The Risk of Injuries

As a result of the unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic and global lock down to curtail the spread of the virus, employers are now presented with the challenge of ensuring their employees are equipped and prepared to work from home, both physically and mentally. In the face of this current situation, it’s imperative to recognize and prevent some of the risk of musculoskeletal injuries that might arise from working in the comfort of your home.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorder: Injuries to the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, and the spine that occur when the work environment and performance of work are not appropriate.

There are several work-related musculoskeletal injuries, but for the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on pain of the lower back, neck, shoulders and arms as those are most common.

As many of the employees will be working using their computer (Lap-top), they will most often be at risk due to:

  1. Over-exertion: Working excessively without taking adequate time out to rest in order to meet up with job demands.
  2. Incorrect posture: Many people won’t have ergonomically designed chairs and workstations, so bad posture will often be a problem. Most would likely work on their couches, bed etc. This seems very comfortable and natural at first but after days, weeks or months working like this, most people will start to show signs of injury. Neck, shoulder and back pain are most common when sitting inappropriately for long periods of time.

 

Prevention

The very first step is to see how you can recreate your office workstation at home. This essentially means setting up a dedicated space with a comfortable chair and a desk/table with enough space to accommodate your computer or laptop and supplies. Then you can adopt the following;

  • Sit correctly

An easily adjustable chair will suffice if available. Adjust your chair to reduce strain on your back and most importantly make sure your lower back is supported (if you don’t want to buy an ergonomic chair you can get a lumbar support roll or pillow to do the trick at a much more affordable price). Your chair should be at a height where you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. Remember not lean on your elbows or slouch. If your feet are not flat on the floor, consider using a footrest. Avoid crossing your legs as this can cause problems with your posture as well.

  • Adjust your screen appropriately

Your screen monitor should be placed directly in front of you at about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen roughly level with your eyes. It should also be as glare-free as possible. If the screen is too high or low, you may end up bending your back or straining your neck.

  • Take intermittent breaks to move around

It’s  important to take regular breaks throughout the day and avoid sitting in the same position for too long. Take frequent short breaks like getting up for a cup of coffee and avoid eating lunch on your work desk.  This gives the muscles a chance to relax, prevents stiffness and eases aching joints. You can also go out for a walk within your compound or estate and do some exercises during your lunch break. It will help keep the body healthy and alleviate any aches and pains.

Working from the comfort of your home is not a bad idea at this time, and may not pose any threat to your health as long as you’re careful to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy.  At PCA we can help assess any aches and pains you may be experiencing from the change in your work situation.   We can also help assess your home or office and help you choose the right equipment and devices to prevent injuries and/or alleviate pain.  Give us a call today at 08130280496 to schedule your assessment.

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