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Reduce injury at work; use proper body mechanics

For information about ergonomics and worksite evaluation visit the Wellness Wednesday booth from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Children’s Hospital lobby.

by Stacy Haney

University Risk Management
Using proper body mechanics along with an ergonomically-correct work station can help mitigate injury at work. It is far easier to prevent injuries than it is to fix them after they occur.
Good body mechanics is using the body in efficient and careful ways and includes good posture, balance and using the largest muscles to do the heaviest work. The most common workplace complaints are back, neck and shoulder pain. These types of injuries are called musculoskeletal injuries (MSDs). MSDs are defined as any disorders of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints, bones or circulatory system. This class of injuries results when the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints, bones or circulatory system are damaged by repeated injury or excessive force. The following are guidelines on how good ergonomics and body mechanics can reduce the risk of these problems: q
  • Take frequent breaks and change positions every 20 - 30 minutes;
  • Warm up or stretch before starting activities that include repetitive movements or prolonged positions;
  • Avoid twisting or bending movements;
  • Position equipment directly in front of you;
  • Avoid over-stretching or over-reaching; keep feet flat on the floor, and avoid bending the neck over for prolonged periods of time.
Activities outside of the workplace can also cause or contribute to MSDs. It is important to keep ergonomic principles and good body mechanics in mind throughout daily activities to minimize pain, injury and illness. MUSC Occupation Safety and Health Programs can assist employees with ergonomic training. Worksite evaluations are conducted to identify, evaluate and control potential ergonomic risk factors.   To schedule a worksite evaluation call 792-3604.

Friday, Aug. 22, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.