Wrightway Health

Are you sitting comfortably? Why not try a Work Station Assessment?

A decluttered brain often starts with a decluttered space. With that in mind, we think that there is no better time to have a big clear out than the new year. Now that more employees are often based at a desk throughout their working day, it’s important to have a healthy environment and work station to operate from.
 
A comfortable and employee appropriate desk space can not only improve productivity whilst at work, it can also reduce the risk of Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSD’S). It is crucial that whilst at work, you understand the complications that can arise from not taking regular breaks and how to prevent health problems in the future.

With more workers now working in office-based, sedentary jobs, the prevalence of Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSD’S) associated with less than ideal work station ergonomics is increasing. Ninety-five per cent of an office workers day is often spent in front of the computer. During this time, muscles, joint and ligaments can often be loaded in one position for prolonged periods of time which can increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

WRMSD’s associated with workplace ergonomics account for 34% of all lost workday injuries and illnesses and in 2015/2016, 3,138,000 days were lost due to work related upper limb disorders, averaging at 14.1 days per case. Of this number, over a quarter were due to poor workstation/keyboard set up. It is thought having good consideration to workstation ergonomics can increase productivity by 11%.

Whilst it is recognised that being fit and incorporating postural breaks into a work day is the best strategy to manage WRMSD’s, there is always the issue that most work time is spent sitting at a desk/workstation, often for prolonged periods. Many organisations use standard work station assessment tools which encourage the employee to self-assess their work station set up against a standard list of recommendations. However, it is widely accepted that a “one size fits all approach” does not work with every employee or every organisation.

Workplace demands, work tasks, workplace environments and employee’s shape/size/age all vary significantly and often the standard assessment tools do not provide enough feedback to make correct and effective adjustments. Assessments are often completed following an episode of WRMSD or a period of absence from an employee where they have cited issues around their workstation as a causative factor.

Our approach is tailored to the individual and the organisation. Our assessment incorporates a discussion with the employer about the tasks the individual is expected to carry out and a subjective assessment with the employee to understand the issues that the employee has had. This is then followed by a detailed look at the work station both statically and dynamically with the employee demonstrating their frequently carried out work tasks.

Small adjustments can then be made at the time as well, as any recommendations regarding any alternative equipment that may be of benefit to the employer and employee.

Having the workstation assessment carried out by a Chartered Physiotherapist gives the added benefit of the employee getting correct advice of the nature of their disorder as well as effective self-management strategies that they can implement both at their workstation and at home in order to improve their symptoms and prevent any recurrence.

References

THOR–GP The health and occupational reporting network – General Practitioners (http://www.population-health.manchester.ac.uk/epidemiology/COEH/research/thor/)

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WRMSDs) Statistics, Great Britain 2016. http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf


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