Long-term injuries that compound over time are silent threats to many Maryland workers. Even though jobs like construction work often involve a higher risk of injury, desk jobs and assembly line work often lead to long-term work injuries as well.
However, there are many adjustments that employers could make to the work environment to help prevent these injuries and protect their workers.
High risks: Sitting and repetitive motions
Many news sources refer to sitting as “the new smoking.” While this is not necessarily true, the Mayo Clinic does agree that sitting for long periods of time can cause significant health risks, including:
- Contributing to higher blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Producing significant pain in the back, neck and shoulders
- Making certain pre-existing conditions worse
However, standing is not much better. Workers in factories and assembly lines spend most of the day standing, which can also cause back injuries or joint damage.
These two kinds of workers also share the risk of repetitive stress injuries from repeated actions, such as typing or always turning to one side.
Is ergonomics the key?
Most people are aware of how ergonomic work equipment can help reduce these long-term injuries. In recent years, many workplaces have added:
- Standing desks and movable monitors
- Adjustable and supportive chairs
- Keyboards that allow hands to rest naturally
- Supportive mats on the floors that also prevent fall injuries
However, a recent article from EHS Today is once again emphasizing the importance of ergonomic equipment in the workplace. The article states that it might be crucial to modify the workplace, so it also supports the physical human body as well as the workers. And that might require more efforts, such as ensuring a safe temperature in the workplace and installing machines to take care of heavy lifting for industrial workers.
Applying ergonomics could substantially reduce the risk of work injuries. And employers do have a duty to take care of any hazards in the workplace, including the silent threats of long-term injuries.