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Ergonomics in the Office: Reducing Injuries and Improving Productivity

At Industries for the Blind, Inc. we make it our mission to adapt to the needs of our employees. Whether it’s through the use of assistive technology, special equipment or lighting, we do everything in our power to make sure our staff can perform their jobs in the most efficient and effective way possible. Most of the time these accommodations are made for our blind and visually impaired employees, however everyone in our offices benefit from a safe, comfortable and ergonomic workspace.

Work-related injuries are not isolated to manufacturing floors or construction sites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time employee works 7.6 hours per day, five days a week which adds up to 2,000 hours per year. For many people, that time is spent sitting at a desk working on a computer. Providing a comfortable environment through the use of ergonomic office furniture has become a priority for many organizations, as it has many benefits in terms of productivity and savings.

From desks to chairs to keyboards, ergonomic furniture is designed to fit the body of the worker to reduce stress, maximize comfort and reduce the possibility of injury. When sitting at a desk, people tend to hold their bodies in an awkward position which can cause strain over an extended period of time. Standard, commercial office chairs that are not ergonomic can cause people to experience everything from fatigue, pain and, in many cases, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendinitis
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Epicondylitis (elbow problem)
  • Trigger finger
  • Muscle strains and low back injuries

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) says work-related MSDs are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness, however, they can be prevented through the use of ergonomics in the workplace. The organization says fitting a job to a person through the use of ergonomic equipment helps lessen muscle fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the number and severity of work-related MSDs. Implementing an ergonomic process not only improves physical comfort, it can enhance office morale by making employees feel like their best interest is being kept in mind.

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