Do Exercise Balls Make Good Office Chairs?

Do Exercise Balls Make Good Office Chairs?  |  An Ergonomics Perspective

Let's dive into the ergonomic insights provided by ergonomic experts on whether exercise balls make good office chairs or not.

Photo Credit: New Africa / Shutterstock

Do Exercise Balls Make Good Office Chairs? Exploring the Ergonomics

In today’s modern work environment, the quest for improved comfort and productivity has led to innovative solutions in office furniture. One such solution that has gained attention is the use of exercise balls as office chairs. Proponents of this unconventional approach claim that exercise balls promote better posture, core engagement, and overall well-being. However, before you trade in your traditional office chair for a bouncy alternative, let’s dive into the ergonomic insights provided by experts to determine whether exercise balls truly make good office chairs.

The Hype Around Exercise Ball Chairs

Exercise ball chairs, also known as stability ball chairs, have gained popularity for their potential to alleviate common discomforts associated with prolonged sitting. These chairs are believed to promote active sitting, encouraging micro-movements that engage core muscles and prevent stiffness. Additionally, exercise ball chairs are thought to improve spinal alignment and reduce the risk of poor posture-related issues.

Ergonomics Experts Weigh In: Exercise Balls as Office Chairs

1. Spinal Alignment:
According to Dr. Sarah Johnson, a leading ergonomics specialist, exercise balls can indeed encourage better spinal alignment. When sitting on an exercise ball, the body’s natural tendency is to maintain a balanced posture, preventing slouching or hunching over the desk. However, Dr. Johnson advises caution, as maintaining an ideal posture on a ball requires continuous muscular effort, which can lead to fatigue over time.

2. Core Engagement:
Dr. Mark Roberts, a physical therapist with expertise in workplace ergonomics, emphasizes that exercise ball chairs can enhance core engagement. Sitting on a slightly unstable surface like a ball necessitates subtle adjustments in body position to maintain stability. This encourages the activation of core muscles, leading to improved muscle tone and reduced strain on the lower back.

3. Individual Considerations:
Ergonomics is not one-size-fits-all. Jane Williams, an ergonomics consultant, points out that the effectiveness of an exercise ball chair depends on an individual’s existing posture, fitness level, and specific ergonomic needs. Some individuals might find exercise balls uncomfortable or unsuitable for extended periods, while others may benefit greatly from the added movement and engagement.

Cautions and Considerations

While exercise ball chairs offer potential benefits, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks as well:

1. Instability:
Exercise balls are inherently unstable, which means constant adjustments are required to stay balanced. This can lead to muscle fatigue and reduced focus, especially during tasks that demand intense concentration.

2. Lack of Support:
Traditional office chairs are designed with ergonomic features such as lumbar support and adjustable armrests. Exercise balls lack these features, potentially leading to discomfort or strain, particularly for those with existing musculoskeletal conditions.

3. Long-Term Viability:
The long-term sustainability of using an exercise ball as an office chair remains a topic of debate among experts. Prolonged sitting on a ball may lead to discomfort or even injury, especially if proper posture and balance are not maintained consistently.

Things to Remember

In the ever-evolving landscape of office ergonomics, exercise ball chairs have emerged as a unique alternative to traditional office chairs. While they offer the potential for improved posture, core engagement, and dynamic sitting, it’s important to approach this trend with a critical eye. Consultation with an ergonomics professional and a trial period can help determine if an exercise ball chair is a suitable addition to your workspace. Remember, the key to a comfortable and productive work environment lies in finding the right balance between movement and support.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Always consult with an ergonomics expert before making significant changes to your workspace setup.

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The Benefits of Ergonomics: Beyond Cost Savings

The Benefits of Ergonomics: Beyond Cost Savings

The benefits of ergonomics beyond cost savings contribute to a healthier, more productive, and more harmonious work environment.

Credit: Safety & Health Magazine June 6, 2016

The Benefits of Ergonomics: Beyond Cost Savings

When it comes to workplace safety and well-being, ergonomics plays a pivotal role that extends far beyond its initial association with cost savings. While reducing expenses is undoubtedly a valuable outcome, the benefits of ergonomics encompass a range of both direct and indirect advantages that contribute to a healthier, more productive, and harmonious work environment.

Direct Benefits of Ergonomics

1. Enhanced Employee Comfort and Well-being:
Ergonomically designed workspaces prioritize the comfort and health of employees. By providing adjustable chairs, ergonomic keyboards, and proper lighting, employers empower their workforce to maintain good posture, alleviate strain, and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. This improved physical well-being directly translates to increased job satisfaction and overall happiness.

2. Increased Productivity:
Investing in ergonomics pays off in terms of heightened productivity. Comfortable employees are more focused and engaged in their tasks, leading to a higher output of quality work. Reduced discomfort and fatigue mean fewer breaks for pain relief, allowing employees to remain concentrated on their responsibilities.

3. Decreased Absenteeism:
An ergonomically optimized workplace can drastically reduce absenteeism due to work-related injuries or discomfort. When employees are free from pain and strain, they are less likely to take sick days, resulting in better attendance records and uninterrupted workflow.

Indirect Benefits of Ergonomics

1. Talent Attraction and Retention:
Companies that prioritize ergonomics exhibit a commitment to employee well-being, making them more appealing to potential hires. Furthermore, when employees feel their health is valued, they’re more likely to stay with the company, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs.

2. Positive Company Culture:
A focus on ergonomics reflects a company culture that values its employees’ health and satisfaction. This promotes a sense of belonging and fosters a positive work atmosphere, leading to better teamwork, collaboration, and creativity.

3. Reputation Enhancement:
Businesses that prioritize ergonomics and invest in their employees’ well-being tend to build a positive reputation within their industry and among consumers. A company known for its commitment to worker safety and comfort stands out as an ethical and responsible organization.

4. Long-Term Cost Savings:
While cost savings might seem like the obvious benefit of ergonomics, it’s important to understand that these savings go beyond immediate financial considerations. By preventing workplace injuries, reducing healthcare expenses, and minimizing legal liabilities, ergonomics contribute to sustainable long-term cost savings.

Things to Remember

Ergonomics transcends its role as a mere cost-cutting measure, encompassing a comprehensive array of advantages that directly impact employee comfort, productivity, and well-being. Moreover, the indirect benefits, such as talent attraction, positive company culture, and enhanced reputation, underscore the far-reaching impact of ergonomics on an organization’s success. By investing in ergonomics, companies create an environment where employees thrive, both personally and professionally, resulting in a harmonious and prosperous workplace.

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Enhancing Workplace Inclusivity with JAN

Enhancing Workplace Inclusivity with JAN  |  Tools & Resources

Photo Credit: MPACT

Enhancing Workplace Inclusivity: The Job Accommodation Network

In today’s dynamic workforce, creating an inclusive and accommodating environment for all employees is paramount. Employers striving to uphold workplace diversity and ensure the well-being of their team members can find invaluable support through the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). In this article, we delve into the significance of JAN and how it can empower employers to enhance workplace accessibility, foster inclusivity, and boost overall productivity.

Understanding the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

The Job Accommodation Network is a renowned resource provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. JAN serves as a comprehensive platform that equips employers with the tools and knowledge needed to create accommodating workspaces for employees with disabilities. By offering expert guidance and solutions, JAN plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between employers and their diverse workforce.

The Benefits for Employers
  • Compliance with Regulations:  Employers can navigate the intricate landscape of disability accommodations with confidence. Moreover, ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other pertinent regulations.
  • Talent Acquisition and Retention:  A workplace that values inclusivity becomes an attractive destination for a diverse talent pool. Furthermore, accommodations facilitated by JAN help employers tap into a wider range of skills and experiences. Not to mention, fostering a culture of innovation and growth.
  • Enhanced Productivity: Accommodations tailored to employees’ needs enable them to perform at their best. This heightened productivity positively impacts the overall efficiency of the team and the organization.
  • Reduced Turnover: When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to remain committed to their roles and the company. This translates to decreased turnover rates and lower costs associated with recruitment and training.
Utilizing JAN Resources
  • Interactive Tools:  JAN offers tools such as the “Searchable Online Accommodation Resource” (SOAR). Furthermore, it’s an interactive tool that assists employers in identifying appropriate accommodations for specific disabilities or limitations.
  • Consultation Services:  Employers can directly engage with JAN’s expert consultants, who provide personalized guidance on accommodation strategies, workplace assessments, and more.
  • Training and Workshops:  JAN conducts training sessions and workshops to educate employers about disability etiquette, creating inclusive policies, and fostering a welcoming work environment.
Case Studies

To illustrate the real-world impact of JAN’s services, consider the success stories of companies that have embraced accommodation practices. These stories emphasize the positive outcomes achieved in terms of employee satisfaction, productivity gains, and enhanced company reputation.

Things to Remember

Employers have the responsibility to create employee sustainability in the workplace. You have an indispensable ally by enhancing workplace inclusivity with JAN.  Furthermore, Jan offers a wealth of resources and expertise to help employers navigate the realm of accommodations. By collaborating with JAN, employers not only comply with legal obligations but also foster an environment where all team members can thrive. Embracing JAN’s guidance is a step toward a more inclusive, productive, and harmonious workplace.

Remember, creating an inclusive work environment is not just a legal requirement but a moral imperative that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole. For more insights and practical guidance on workplace accommodations, explore the resources provided by the Job Accommodation Network. Your commitment to inclusivity will undoubtedly contribute to a brighter future for your employees and your business.

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Employers can create a culture of employee sustainability by enhancing workplace inclusivity with JAN (Job Accommodation Network).

OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2023

OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2023 is a powerful platform for organizations and workers to unite in their commitment to workplace safety and health.

OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2023: Committing to Workplace Safety and Mental Health

Get ready for an important event in the realm of workplace safety and health!  OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2023 taking place from August 7th to 13th. This nationwide initiative encourages both employers and workers to embrace a culture of safety. By recognizing the achievements of workplace safety and health programs, Safe + Sound Week inspires businesses to take the pledge and participate actively in this year’s focus on mental health and well-being.

The Impact of Safe + Sound Week

OSHA is wholeheartedly encouraging employers and workers across America to embrace workplace safety and health during Safe + Sound Week. This nationwide event highlights the remarkable achievements of existing safety and health programs within various organizations. By participating, you demonstrate your commitment to fostering a safe and healthy work environment for all. Take the pledge to be part of this significant movement that aims to make a difference in workplaces across the country.

Focus on Mental Health and Well-being

In line with its ongoing efforts to prioritize worker well-being, this year’s Safe + Sound Week will place a special focus on mental health. The event aims to promote resources and support for managing workplace stress and fostering positive mental health. Mental health, an often-overlooked aspect of workplace well-being, is critical for both employees and businesses’ overall success. By addressing mental health proactively, Safe + Sound Week seeks to create healthier, happier, and more productive work environments.

Sign the Pledge and Make a Difference

Joining Safe + Sound Week is more than a symbolic gesture – it is a tangible commitment to workplace safety and health. Take the pledge to participate in this year’s event and contribute to the collective goal of fostering safer workplaces. Embrace the opportunity to showcase your organization’s dedication to safety and health programs. This will ultimately leading to a reduction in injuries and improved productivity. This is your chance to be part of a nationwide effort that recognizes the value of every worker’s well-being!

Things to Remember

Safe + Sound Week 2023 provides a powerful platform for organizations and workers to come together, united in their commitment to workplace safety and health. As OSHA actively encourages employers and workers to engage in this event, it becomes crucial to recognize its impact on fostering safer and healthier work environments. This year, Safe + Sound Week specifically emphasizes mental health and well-being, underscoring the importance of nurturing employees’ mental wellness. By taking the pledge and actively participating, you can be a driving force in cultivating a culture of safety and well-being within your workplace. Together, let’s make Safe + Sound Week a resounding success and continue our journey towards a safer and healthier working environment for everyone.

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Office Computer Desk Ergonomics

Office Computer Desk Ergonomics: Reducing the Risk of Injury

In today’s fast-paced digital world, most of us spend a significant portion of our day working on a computer at our office desk. However, prolonged hours in front of a screen can lead to various health issues, such as neck strain, back pain, and wrist discomfort. Thankfully, by setting up your office computer desk with proper ergonomics in mind, you can reduce the risk of injury and promote a healthier and more productive workspace. In this article, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to achieve an ergonomic setup, ensuring optimal comfort and well-being.


1. Choose the Right Desk and Chair

The foundation of a comfortable and ergonomic office setup begins with selecting the right desk and chair. Invest in a desk that offers enough surface area to accommodate your computer, monitor(s), keyboard, and other necessary peripherals. Adjustable height desks are preferable as they allow you to alternate between sitting and standing, promoting better posture and blood circulation.

Equally important is a high-quality ergonomic chair that supports your lower back and encourages a natural curve in your spine. Look for chairs with adjustable height and armrests to find the perfect fit for your body.

2. Position Your Monitor at Eye Level

Proper monitor placement is critical to avoid straining your neck and eyes. Position the top of your monitor screen at or just below eye level, so you’re looking slightly downward. This reduces the risk of neck strain and minimizes eye fatigue.

Ensure the monitor is at a comfortable distance from your eyes – typically about an arm’s length away. If using multiple monitors, align them side by side and at an equal height to prevent constant head movement.

3. Create an Optimal Keyboard and Mouse Setup

An ergonomic keyboard and mouse setup can significantly reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Position your keyboard at a height that allows your elbows to rest comfortably at your sides and form a 90-degree angle.

Keep your wrists straight and avoid bending them upward while typing. Consider using a keyboard tray or a split ergonomic keyboard to maintain a natural wrist position. Similarly, choose an ergonomic mouse that fits the shape of your hand, reducing strain during extended periods of use.

4. Mind Your Posture

Maintaining a proper posture while working at your computer is essential for preventing back pain and musculoskeletal issues. Sit with your back against the chair, and ensure your feet are flat on the ground or a footrest.

Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and avoid crossing your legs for extended periods. Engage your core muscles to support your spine and shift positions regularly to prevent stiffness.

5. Organize Your Desk Thoughtfully

An organized desk not only enhances productivity but also contributes to an ergonomic setup. Keep frequently used items, such as pens, notepads, and phone, within arm’s reach to avoid excessive stretching and straining.

Use cable management solutions to keep cords and cables tidy and prevent tripping hazards. Clutter-free surroundings promote a calmer work environment and a clear mind.

Things to Remember

By implementing these simple yet effective ergonomic principles, you can transform your office computer desk into a space that fosters comfort, productivity, and overall well-being. Investing in a suitable desk and chair, positioning your monitor correctly, and prioritizing a proper keyboard and mouse setup will go a long way in reducing the risk of injury associated with prolonged computer use.

Remember to maintain good posture and take regular breaks to stretch and relax your muscles. Creating an ergonomic office computer desk setup isn’t just about productivity – it’s an investment in your long-term health and happiness.

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Related Video Resource:

David Zhang. (2017, May 11). 5 ways you’re sitting wrong at your desk – Computer Desk Setup Ergonomics

Ergonomics at the Park!

Ergonomics at the Park!  |  Early Intervention Ergonomics

Ergonomics at the Park: How to Enhance Your Park Experience

A trip to the local city park promises moments of pure joy and relaxation, surrounded by nature’s beauty. While we cherish these delightful experiences, it’s essential not to overlook the role of ergonomics in optimizing our park activities. Ergonomics, typically associated with office spaces, also applies to recreational settings, such as the park. By integrating ergonomic practices during our park outings, we can elevate our well-being and ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable time. Let’s explore practical ways to harness the benefits of ergonomics while having fun at the park.

Optimal Seating for Comfort

The city park offers an array of seating options, from benches to picnic tables. When choosing a spot to rest, prioritize proper posture and comfort. Ensure your back receives adequate support, and your feet rest flat on the ground to maintain a healthy seated position. Look for benches with backrests to encourage better posture and reduce strain on your back and neck.

Mindful Picnics for Pleasure

Picnics are a cherished part of park visits. To make your picnic ergonomic-friendly, pack a lightweight and easy-to-carry picnic basket or backpack with padded shoulder straps. Use portable and adjustable tables or trays to achieve a comfortable dining height. When spreading your picnic blanket, select a flat and even surface to prevent uneven pressure on your body.

Stretch and Warm-Up for Active Play

Before engaging in physical activities like sports or games, take a few moments to stretch and warm up your muscles. Gentle stretching improves blood flow, reduces the risk of injuries, and enhances flexibility. Simple stretches like shoulder rolls, neck tilts, and leg swings prepare your body for the excitement ahead.

Play Equipment and Safety

City parks boast various play equipment suitable for all ages. When using swings, slides, or other structures, employ proper body mechanics to avoid strains or accidents. Sit correctly and grip swing chains firmly, slide down gently, and land on your feet to minimize impact on your joints.

Stay Hydrated for Endurance

Proper hydration is crucial during outdoor activities. Carry a reusable water bottle and take regular breaks to drink water. Staying hydrated not only supports your body’s functions but also maintains energy levels throughout your park visit.

Mind Your Body Mechanics

Whether you’re playing sports, jogging, or simply walking around, be mindful of your body mechanics. Engage your core muscles for spinal support, take comfortable strides, and avoid overexertion. Practicing good body mechanics reduces the risk of injuries and optimizes physical performance.

Respect Your Limits

While the park offers numerous activities, it’s essential to listen to your body and respect your limits. Overexertion can lead to fatigue and injuries. Take breaks as needed, find shaded spots to rest, and enjoy the park at a pace that suits your comfort level.

Things to Remember

As you head to the local city park for a day of fun and relaxation, remember to incorporate ergonomics into your activities. By choosing comfortable seating, having mindful picnics, stretching before active play, using play equipment safely, staying hydrated, minding your body mechanics, and respecting your limits, you can optimize your park experience. Embrace the joy of the outdoors while taking care of your body through ergonomic awareness. A well-planned and ergonomic park outing promises unforgettable memories and a refreshed sense of well-being.

Related article:  Frisbee Lift
  • What we DO NOT want to see is bending over with the frisbee way out in front of you. This will put a lot of stress on your knees and cause your back to hurt.
  • With a proper Frisbee Lift, what you want to do is bring that frisbee closer to you within your base of support.
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Contact us today! 

Embrace the joy of the outdoors, take care of your family by including ergonomics at the park. Preparation & awareness are key!





Electronic Reporting for Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Electronic Reporting for Workplace Injuries and Illnesses |  Early Intervention Ergonomics

By mandating electronic reporting for workplace injuries and illnesses, OSHA aims to create a safer working environment for employees.

OSHA’s New Rule: Electronic Reporting for Workplace Injuries & Illnesses

In a groundbreaking move to bolster workplace safety, OSHA has introduced a game-changing Final Rule. This rule, designed to be published on July 21 and become effective on January 1, 2024, emphasizes the active electronic submission of injury and illness information to OSHA. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of this innovative regulation and explore its profound impact on employers.

**Understanding the OSHA Final Rule**

OSHA’s forward-thinking Final Rule actively amends the existing occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation. This proactive approach now necessitates certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information, already mandated under the recordkeeping regulation, directly to OSHA.

**Who is Affected?**

The Final Rule specifically targets establishments within certain designated industries, based on the number of employees they have. Here’s a breakdown of the affected groups:

  1. Establishments with 100 or more employees in certain designated industries: OSHA requires these employers to actively submit information from their OSHA Forms 300 and 301 to OSHA once a year. The list of designated industries can be found in new Appendix B to Subpart E.
  2. Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain industries: This category of employers remains obligated to actively submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA once a year. You can find the relevant industries in Appendix A to Subpart E.
  3. Establishments with 250 or more employees: This covers all establishments obligated to keep records under OSHA’s injury and illness regulation. They must also actively submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA annually.

Benefits of Electronic Reporting for Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Active electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses brings several compelling benefits:

  • Streamlined Data Analysis: Through digital records, OSHA can actively analyze data, identifying industry-specific trends and potential hazards more efficiently.
  • Prompt Risk Identification: Active reporting empowers OSHA to proactively address emerging safety concerns, reducing the likelihood of workplace accidents.
  • Convenient Reporting Process: Employers can actively submit their reports directly through OSHA’s user-friendly online portal, streamlining the process significantly.
  • Enhanced Transparency and Accountability: Active electronic reporting fosters transparency, holding employers actively accountable for maintaining a safe working environment.

Compliance and Preparing for the Change

To actively comply with the new regulation, employers should take proactive measures:

  • Stay Vigilant: Actively monitor OSHA’s official website for updates on the Final Rule and its specific requirements.
  • Review Designated Industries: Actively check OSHA’s appendixes to determine if your establishment falls within the scope of active electronic reporting.
  • Implement an Active Reporting System: Actively establish a system to ensure seamless submission of the required information to OSHA when the rule comes into effect.
  • Train Relevant Personnel: Actively inform your HR and safety personnel about the new requirements to facilitate proper compliance.

Things to Remember

OSHA’s new Final Rule takes a significant step forward in enhancing workplace safety by mandating electronic reporting of injury and illness information. With this proactive measure, the agency aims to create a safer working environment for employees across various industries. Employers should proactively prepare for the upcoming changes, not only to comply with the regulation but also to reinforce their commitment to the well-being of their workforce.

For more information and updates on OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements, please visit OSHA’s official website and refer to their news release. Make sure to share this vital information with your stakeholders, so they too can be aware and prepared for the changes ahead. Together, we can build safer and healthier workplaces for everyone.

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Protecting Our Warehouse Workers

 Protecting Our Warehouse Workers  |  Early Intervention Ergonomics

The new National Emphasis Program aims at protecting our warehouse workers by significantly reducing injuries and ensuring their well-being.

National Emphasis Program for Protecting our Warehouse Workers

In a bid to prioritize the safety of warehouse workers, the Department of Labor (DOL) recently unveiled a national emphasis program on July 13, 2023. This program specifically targets the prevention of workplace hazards in warehouses, processing facilities, distribution centers, and high-risk retail establishments. By implementing comprehensive safety inspections and fostering proactive measures, the DOL aims to significantly reduce injuries and ensure the well-being of these workers.

The Safety Challenges Faced by Warehouse Workers

Over the past decade, the warehousing and distribution industry has experienced significant growth, providing employment opportunities to over 1.9 million individuals. However, statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that injury and illness rates in these establishments exceed those of the overall private industry. In some sectors, the rates are more than double. Recognizing the gravity of this situation, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, Doug Parker, stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of worker injuries and encouraging employers to prioritize their health and safety.

Comprehensive Safety Inspections Geared Towards Injury Prevention

The newly launched three-year NEP by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incorporates a range of safety inspections specifically designed to prevent injuries in warehouses. These inspections will primarily focus on the following key areas:

  • Powered Industrial Vehicle Operations: OSHA will conduct thorough assessments of safety protocols and practices related to the operation of powered industrial vehicles, with a strong emphasis on preventing accidents and injuries.
  • Material Handling and Storage: In order to safeguard workers, OSHA will meticulously evaluate material handling and storage processes, identifying potential hazards and recommending improvements to mitigate the risk of injuries.
  • Walking and Working Surfaces: The program will extensively examine the condition of walking and working surfaces within warehouses, aiming to identify and rectify any hazards that could lead to slips, trips, and falls.
  • Means of Egress and Fire Protection: OSHA will closely scrutinize the means of egress and fire protection systems, ensuring compliance with safety standards to prevent accidents and facilitate safe evacuations during emergencies.

Focus on Retail Establishments and Expanding Safety Measures

While the program primarily targets warehouses, it also includes inspections of retail establishments with high injury rates. Storage and loading areas will receive special attention in these establishments. OSHA retains the authority to broaden the scope of inspections if evidence suggests that violations may exist in other sections of these establishments, ensuring a comprehensive approach to injury prevention.

Holistic Approach: Heat and Ergonomic Hazards

Recognizing the importance of addressing all aspects of workplace safety, the emphasis program incorporates the assessment of heat and ergonomic risks. Moreover, if OSHA identifies the presence of such hazards, health inspections may be conducted to evaluate and mitigate potential risks to workers’ well-being.

Collaboration and Continuous Improvement

The selection of establishments for inspections will be based on two lists. The first list comprises establishments with industry codes covered under this emphasis program. The second list includes a limited number of retail establishments with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted duty, or job transfer. It is important to note that state plans are required to either adopt this emphasis program or establish an alternative program that is equally effective, highlighting the importance of collaboration in ensuring the safety of warehouse workers.

Final Thoughts on Protecting our Warehouse Workers

By launching the national emphasis program, the DOL and OSHA are taking decisive action to prioritize the injury prevention and overall safety of warehouse workers. Through comprehensive safety inspections, targeted focus areas, and a commitment to collaboration, this program aims to create a safer working environment, reduce injuries, and enhance the well-being of employees in the warehousing and distribution industry.

Relevant Resource Links:

OSHA’s official announcement
PDF Download: OSHA’s Three-Year National Emphasis Program
Solutions to common warehouse hazards
More Injury Prevention Tools & Resources by Peak Ergonomics

Healthy Employees ARE the Bottom Line! – Learn More!

Trench Safety

The Importance of Trench Safety: Safeguarding Lives and Enhancing Construction Practices

Trench safety is a critical aspect of construction and excavation activities that warrants significant attention. Within the depths of narrow and deep excavations, workers face inherent risks that necessitate strict adherence to safety protocols. In this article, we delve into the paramount importance of trench safety and explore essential measures for safeguarding lives below the surface, ultimately improving construction practices.

Trench safety is a critical aspect of construction and excavation activities that warrants significant attention. These workers are attempting to build a safe trench.


Understanding the Significance:

Comprehending the risks associated with trenching and excavation work is crucial. These activities pose a range of hazards, including cave-ins, falls, engulfment, hazardous atmospheres, and falling objects. Among these risks, trench collapses pose a particularly grave threat, burying workers under massive volumes of soil, resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Therefore, prioritizing trench safety becomes indispensable in preventing accidents and ensuring the well-being of those involved in excavation work.

Key Safety Measures:
  • Implementing Protective Systems: Employing effective protective systems forms the cornerstone of trench safety. Trench boxes, or trench shields, provide structural support to prevent soil collapse. Shoring techniques, such as hydraulic shoring and timber shoring, reinforce trench walls, mitigating the risk of collapses. Similarly, employing sloping and benching techniques involves cutting back trench walls at specific angles to minimize cave-in hazards.
  • Competence and Training: The competence and training of personnel engaged in trenching and excavation work are of paramount importance. Comprehensive training programs equip workers with the ability to identify potential hazards, comprehend soil types, utilize protective systems, and operate equipment safely. Regular safety briefings and refresher courses reinforce adherence to safety protocols and best practices.
  • Site Evaluation and Planning: Thorough site evaluations are essential before commencing any trenching operation. This evaluation includes identifying existing utilities, assessing soil composition, evaluating water accumulation risks, and identifying potential hazardous atmospheres. Detailed planning ensures the implementation of appropriate safety measures and the availability of necessary equipment on-site.
  • Ensuring Adequate Access and Egress: Establishing safe entry and exit points in trenches is crucial. Constructing properly designed ladders, stairways, or ramps enables workers to enter and exit trenches safely. Minimizing the distance between access points ensures swift evacuation during emergencies.
  • Atmospheric Monitoring: Regularly monitoring atmospheric conditions within trenches is imperative to prevent exposure to hazardous gases and oxygen depletion. Thorough monitoring for toxic gases like methane or hydrogen sulfide ensures a safe working environment. Installing effective ventilation systems guarantees a continuous supply of fresh air.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Providing adequate personal protective equipment to workers engaged in trenching operations is crucial. This includes hard hats, high-visibility clothing, safety boots, and protective gloves. Workers should also utilize respiratory protection when at risk of inhaling hazardous substances.
Trench Safety Tools & Resources from OSHA & MOCGA:

OSHA Resources:

MOCGA Outreach Materials:


Final Thoughts:

Ensuring trench safety is a shared responsibility among employers, supervisors, and workers alike. By recognizing potential risks and implementing robust safety measures, accidents can be minimized, and the well-being of those working below the surface can be safeguarded. Trench safety must never be compromised, and adherence to best practices, comprehensive training, and the use of protective systems are indispensable in protecting lives and preventing tragedies in the construction and excavation industry. Let us prioritize trench safety as an integral part of every trenching operation, enhancing construction practices and fostering a secure working environment.

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Worker Exposure Risk to COVID-19

Worker Exposure Risk to COVID-19  |  Workplace Safety Resource

As the world continues to grapple with the virus, understanding the current state of worker exposure risk to COVID-19 is crucial

The State of Worker Exposure Risk to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted our daily lives, and one of the most critical aspects is how it affects the health and safety of workers. As the world continues to grapple with the virus, understanding the current state of worker exposure risk to COVID-19 is crucial. In this blog article, we will delve into the latest trends, safety measures, and best practices to protect employees from potential exposure to the virus.

Industries at Higher Risk

As of July 26, 2023, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a global concern, with varying infection rates across regions. New variants of the virus have emerged, influencing the overall exposure risk for workers. Employers and employees must stay vigilant and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances.

Certain industries face higher worker exposure risk due to the nature of their work. Healthcare, frontline services, hospitality, and transportation are among the sectors where workers are more vulnerable to the virus. Proper precautions and safety protocols are essential in these fields to protect workers and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Employer Responsibilities and Safety Measures

Employers play a pivotal role in safeguarding their workforce. They must adhere to government guidelines and implement rigorous safety measures. This includes:

  • Social Distancing: Ensure workplaces are designed to facilitate social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between employees whenever possible.
  • Mask Mandates: Enforce the use of masks in indoor settings, especially when social distancing is not feasible.
  • Regular Sanitization: Provide easy access to hand sanitizing stations and encourage employees to frequently sanitize their hands.
  • Enhanced Cleaning Protocols: Regularly disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and communal areas.
  • Remote Work Policies: Encourage remote work options for roles that allow it, reducing the number of employees present in the workplace.
  • Vaccination Support: Encourage and support vaccination efforts among employees by providing information and facilitating access to vaccines.
Employee Responsibilities

Employees also have a crucial role to play in minimizing exposure risk. Encourage them to:

  • Adhere to Safety Protocols: Comply with workplace safety guidelines and procedures to protect themselves and their colleagues.
  • Stay Informed: Stay up-to-date with the latest information from reliable sources about COVID-19 and its variants.
  • Monitor Health: Employees should self-monitor for any symptoms and report any illness promptly to their supervisor.
  • Vaccination: Encourage employees to get vaccinated, which significantly reduces the risk of severe illness and transmission.
The Future of Worker Exposure Risk

The future of worker exposure risk to COVID-19 remains uncertain, especially with new variants continually emerging. Employers must remain agile, updating safety protocols in line with evolving health guidelines. Investing in employee health and safety not only protects the workforce but also contributes to increased productivity and morale.

Things to Remember

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, it is essential for employers and employees alike to remain vigilant and proactive in mitigating worker exposure risk. By adhering to safety guidelines, supporting vaccination efforts, and staying informed about the evolving landscape of the virus, we can protect the health and well-being of our workforce. Together, we can build a safer and healthier future for all.

More Tools & Resources from Peak Ergonomics
Contact Us About Reducing Workplace Injuries
Healthy Employees are the Bottom Line!

Related Resource Links:

Protecting Workers Guidance for COVID-19

(CDC) Understanding Exposure Risks


Employers Failing to Submit Injury Data

OSHA initiates enforcement program to identify employers failing to submit injury data and illness data. Citations issued for non-compliance.

Identifying Employers Failing to Submit Injury and Illness Data

OSHA initiates enforcement program to identify employers failing to submit injury and illness data. The enforcement program will identify employers who failed to submit Form 300A data through the agency’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Annual electronic submissions are required by establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.

The program matches newly opened inspections against a list of potential non-responders to OSHA’s collection of Form 300A data through the ITA and reports all matches to the appropriate OSHA area office. If the area office determines that the establishment on the list is the same establishment where the inspection was opened, OSHA will issue citations for failure to submit OSHA Form 300A Summary data. In addition to identifying non-responders at the establishment level, the agency is also reviewing the 2021 submitted data to identify non-responders at a corporate-wide level. This corporate level review is being conducted for the nation’s largest employers. For more information, please visit OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements website and Trade Release.

The Crucial Role of Employers in Submitting Injury and Illness Data to OSHA

Safety in the workplace should be a top priority for all employers. Creating a safe and healthy work environment not only protects employees but also contributes to increased productivity and reduced costs. To promote transparency and accountability in workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to submit injury and illness data. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of complying with OSHA’s reporting requirements, and how it benefits both employees and employers.

1. What is OSHA’s Injury and Illness Reporting?

OSHA, a federal agency under the United States Department of Labor, plays a significant role in ensuring the safety and health of workers across various industries. To achieve this goal, OSHA requires employers to maintain accurate records of workplace injuries and illnesses. These records serve as vital sources of information to identify potential hazards, assess workplace safety programs, and develop effective preventive measures.

2. Promoting Transparency and Accountability

Submitting injury and illness data to OSHA fosters transparency and accountability. By reporting workplace incidents, employers provide a clear picture of safety issues within their organization. Transparent reporting helps OSHA identify industries and workplaces that may have higher injury rates, allowing them to target their resources and inspections effectively.

Moreover, publicly available injury and illness data empower employees to make informed decisions about potential job opportunities. Prospective employees can evaluate an organization’s safety track record, which could influence their decision to work for a particular company.

3. Identifying and Addressing Workplace Hazards

The data submitted to OSHA is carefully analyzed, helping to identify common workplace hazards and trends. This information allows OSHA to develop industry-specific guidelines and safety standards to address these risks effectively. Additionally, employers can also use this data to recognize patterns and implement proactive measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

4. Enhancing Workplace Safety Programs

Regularly reporting workplace injuries and illnesses helps employers assess the effectiveness of their safety programs. By analyzing the data, employers can identify potential weaknesses in their safety procedures and make necessary improvements. A proactive approach to safety not only reduces the risk of accidents but also improves employee morale and productivity.

5. Compliance with OSHA Regulations

Complying with OSHA’s injury and illness reporting requirements is not optional; it is mandatory for many employers. Failure to report incidents can result in significant penalties and fines. By submitting accurate and timely data, employers demonstrate their commitment to workplace safety and compliance with OSHA regulations.

6. Form 300, 300A, and 301

OSHA requires employers to maintain three key forms to document workplace injuries and illnesses: Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). These forms must be kept up to date and submitted annually as part of OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.

7. How to Submit Injury and Illness Data

To streamline the process, OSHA has developed the Injury Tracking Application (ITA), an online platform that facilitates the submission of injury and illness data. Employers can access ITA on OSHA’s official website and submit their records electronically.

Things to Remember

Ensuring workplace safety is a shared responsibility between employers and employees. By submitting injury and illness data to OSHA, employers contribute to a safer work environment for their workforce, foster transparency, and aid in the identification and resolution of workplace hazards. Compliance with OSHA’s reporting requirements not only avoids costly fines but also strengthens an organization’s safety culture and reputation. Prioritizing workplace safety is not only a legal obligation but also a moral imperative that benefits everyone involved. By working together, employers and employees can create a safer and healthier working environment for all.

More Tools & Resources from Peak Ergonomics
Healthy Employees are the Bottom Line!
Contact Us About Reducing Workplace Injuries

Work Related Injuries

Reduction of Work Related Injuries by 96%


Photo collage of "before & after" injury hazards solved by Peak Ergonomics Early Intervention service resulting in a reduction of work-related injuries

Kelly and Paul with Peak Ergonomics wearing safety gear


The entire Peak Ergo Family

Our Early Beginnings

Since 2006, we managed over 20,000 early intervention cases with a reduction of work-related injuries by 96%. As a result, we saved our clients over 170 million dollars. In addition, we have kept 1.7 billion dollars from being snatched away from our clients’ sales due to workplace injuries and illnesses. We are an injury prevention business. Our clients experience a significant reduction in reported work-related injuries. One of our clients reported going six years with only seven injuries! Healthy employees are the bottom line!

The reason we are so successful is because of our consultants. Our consultants go to great lengths to find high-quality, relational individuals with a high skill set. As a result, we find the best people to join our team. Honest, diligent, fair-minded, and hard-working are all personal attributes in each of our consultants. If you take the time to read our consultants’ bios, you see stories of some remarkable people. Not only are they experts at reducing workplace injuries, but they are truly good people and devote their life to the betterment of society.

Secret to Our Success

Our consultants love their family, friends, and animals and they live a life of love and service. They are highly relational people, bringing everyone inside and leaving no one out.  When our team works with a client, we build relationships and genuinely try to make a difference in the life of each person we meet.

The core philosophy of Peak Ergonomics is to help others. When we meet with someone, we do our best to help the entire person. What we do is help your employee achieve their peak health potential. Not only do we look at the occupational risk factors, but we also look at their risk factors. Sleeping posture, hobbies, caregiving, uncontrolled medical conditions, and a long list of individual items may also need to be corrected to resolve their problem. Our professional ergonomics team listen to the person and help them to the best of our ability, and we give generously of our knowledge. We have created a video library of our preventive exercises and share them on our website with the entire world.

If you are interested in reducing work-related injuries and illnesses, please reach out to us.  You can email us at [email protected] or call 573.239.3666. Contact us now for your Free Ergonomics Consultation and Quote.

Paul Krewson
Founder & CEO


Office Ergonomics Lunch and Learn

Office ergonomics can save on workers' compensation claims and medical expenses while maintaining a healthy workforce.

Why Office Ergonomics is Important?

In today’s fast-paced work environment, employees spend long hours at their desks, immersed in a sea of screens and paperwork. While the demands of modern work are inevitable, neglecting the importance of office ergonomics can have serious consequences on productivity, well-being, and overall job satisfaction. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of office ergonomics and how it can positively impact both employees and businesses.

1. Understanding Office Ergonomics:

Office ergonomics refers to the science of designing a workspace that optimizes human performance and well-being. It focuses on creating an environment that minimizes physical strain and discomfort, aligning the workspace to the natural posture and movements of the human body. A well-designed ergonomic workspace takes into account factors such as chair height, desk positioning, monitor placement, and keyboard usage.

2. The Link between Ergonomics and Productivity:

Ergonomics and productivity are interlinked in a profound way. When employees work in an ergonomically-friendly environment, they experience reduced fatigue and discomfort. This directly translates into enhanced focus, better concentration, and increased efficiency. Employees are less prone to distractions and more likely to maintain their productivity throughout the day.

3. Enhancing Employee Well-Being:

A workspace that prioritizes ergonomics fosters employee well-being. When employees feel physically comfortable at work, they are less susceptible to musculoskeletal issues like back pain, neck strain, and repetitive stress injuries. This not only leads to fewer sick days and lower healthcare costs for businesses but also demonstrates a genuine concern for the health and happiness of their employees.

4. Reducing Workplace Injuries and Costs:

Work-related injuries can have a significant impact on both employees and businesses. Implementing ergonomic principles can drastically reduce the risk of workplace injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and eye strain. Consequently, businesses can save on workers’ compensation claims and medical expenses while maintaining a healthy workforce.

5. Boosting Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction:

Investing in office ergonomics can improve employee engagement and job satisfaction. When employees feel that their employer values their well-being, they are more likely to be loyal and committed to their work. Moreover, an ergonomic workspace fosters a positive work culture, encouraging collaboration and team spirit.

Things to Remember

In today’s competitive business landscape, success is driven by the productivity and happiness of employees. Office ergonomics is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for both employees and businesses. By creating workspaces that prioritize the well-being and comfort of employees, companies can enhance productivity, reduce costs, and cultivate a thriving work environment. Embracing office ergonomics is an investment that yields remarkable returns in the form of engaged and healthy employees, who are the backbone of every successful organization.

More Tools & Resources from Peak Ergonomics
Contact Us About Reducing Workplace Injuries
Healthy Employees are the Bottom Line! – Learn More!

Related Resources:

Peak Ergonomics. (2023, July 31). Office Computer Desk Ergonomics

David Zhang. (2017, May 11). 5 ways you’re sitting wrong at your desk – Computer Desk Setup Ergonomics

Chandler, M. (2019, February 15). How To Create The Ideal Ergonomic Workstation Setup 

Kiss Carpal Tunnel Goodbye!

Kiss carpal tunnel goodbye with effective ways to prevent and reverse the progressive occupational illness of carpal tunnel syndrome

Past Seminar: “Kiss Carpal Tunnel Goodbye”

“Kiss Carpal Tunnel Goodbye” is designed for employers who are interested in reducing carpal tunnel syndrome from their worker’s compensation claims and OSHA logs.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Missouri Employer’s Mutual Chesterfield, MO

Thursday, February 9th, 2017 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center Columbia, MO

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Missouri Employer’s Mutual Independence, MO

Learn from the disciplines of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and ergonomics on the most effective ways to prevent and reverse the progressive occupational illness of carpal tunnel syndrome.


  • Paul Krewson, OTR, CEAS
  • Tyler Brown PT, CEAS
  • Mark Woodard Loss Prevention Specialist


  • Prevention and Early Intervention of CTS
  • Post Offer Pre Employment Testing
  • Overview of Surgery and Recovery
  • HR and Work Comp Perspective

Ways to Prevent/Reverse Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  1. Ergonomic Workstations: One of the primary contributors to CTS is poor ergonomics. Ensure your workstation is properly set up with an ergonomic chair, keyboard, and mouse. Maintain a neutral wrist position to minimize stress on the median nerve, which is responsible for CTS symptoms.
  2. Frequent Breaks and Stretching: Incorporate short breaks into your workday to stretch your wrists and hands. Simple exercises like wrist flexor and extensor stretches can help relieve tension and improve blood circulation.
  3. Proper Typing Technique: Pay attention to your typing technique. Avoid excessive force on the keys and try to keep your wrists in a neutral position while typing. A split keyboard or an ergonomic keyboard can also help.
  4. Wrist Braces and Supports: Consider wearing wrist braces or supports, especially if you’ve experienced CTS symptoms. These aids can provide stability and reduce strain on the wrists during repetitive tasks.
  5. Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Nutrition plays a role in preventing inflammation that can contribute to CTS. Incorporate foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, to reduce inflammation and support joint health.
  6. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess body weight can increase the risk of CTS. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise to reduce pressure on your wrists.
  7. Proper Hand Posture: Be mindful of your hand posture during activities. Avoid excessive flexion or extension of the wrists and maintain a neutral position when using tools or performing tasks.
  8. Stress Management: Chronic stress can exacerbate CTS symptoms. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to keep stress levels in check.
  9. Professional Evaluation: If you experience persistent symptoms of CTS, consult a healthcare professional or an ergonomics expert. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent further damage.

Things to Remember

Prioritizing ergonomics, taking regular breaks, and adopting a healthy lifestyle are essential steps in maintaining wrist health. Remember, a proactive approach to workplace safety and ergonomics can go a long way in ensuring your well-being and productivity in the long run.

More Tools & Resources from Peak Ergonomics
Contact Us About Reducing Workplace Injuries
Healthy Employees are the Bottom Line! – Learn More!

Confucius and Ergonomics

Approximately 2,500 years ago, Confucius was bringing enlightenment to the people of China. One of his most famous teachings is the Golden Rule which states that we should treat others the way that we wish to be treated. Five hundred years later, Jesus taught this to the people of Israel. Today this principle is universally accepted as the most important rule to follow for moral behavior and a healthy society. Another wise saying from this ancient philosopher is, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”


In my 20 plus years as an occupational therapist and ergonomic consultant, this axiom has proven itself true again and again. Many times when I do an office ergonomic consult the worker is asking for a new chair. Usually, their chair is appropriate and the problem is the chair has not been correctly adjusted. The person who issued the chair might have said that the chair has adjustments; however, those words most likely went into one ear and out the other. Sometimes the person is shown how to adjust the chair. In these cases, the worker remembers the chair is adjustable and might get it set up correctly the first time. Then someday another person sits in their chair and changes the settings and the worker does not understand how to reset the chair. The effective lesson is when the worker sits in the chair and adjusts it themselves. When they do they understand. Once I adjust the chair correctly and the worker sits down and feels the ideal setup, I change all the settings and ask the employee to correct the chair. Sometimes this takes a few minutes, but never more than half an hour. It’s good to be patient and let them figure it out with some gentle coaching. We will do this another time or two until the worker can truly demonstrate the ability to control their chair. If an entire department receives new chairs, then we have a group lesson. We get a handful of people together in a circle with their chairs. I sit in the middle and show them all the adjustments and how it should fit their body. They practice for about 15 or 20 minutes and usually have fun and laugh with one another during this learning experience (laughter is a wonderful teacher). Once a worker demonstrates the ability to set their chair correctly, we have their friend sabotage it a few times to assure the learning is complete.

When a business purchases ergonomic equipment such as a chair, hoist or a new tool, it is imperative that the employees are effectively trained. I have seen several instances where a company spends thousands of dollars on important ergonomic equipment and then fails to effectively train their employees. The expensive new item is set aside in a corner and gathers dust while demoralization settles into the ergonomics initiative. People must be trained while using their hands and the training might need several repetitions before they really learn. Some workers may demonstrate correct behavior after 5 repetitions. Some workers might need 50 and other workers may need 200. Repetition is the mother of all learning and also a primary ergonomic risk factor. We must be committed to teach our employees effectively and mentor them during the learning curve. This concept is also applicable to ergonomic training for body mechanics, lifting technique and preventative stretching programs.

Technology is evolving at an ever accelerating rate and requires innovative and cutting edge thinking. Our scientific discovery is a starship getting ever closer to making the jump to light speed. Juxtaposed is a rickety old steamboat that we call the human race. This dire contraption requires ancient wisdom to keep the boiler from exploding. It is crucial that we carefully utilize both scientific knowledge and ancient wisdom to sustain both vessels.

An article by Paul Krewson, Founder & Chairman of Peak Ergonomics, Inc.

Keeping Your Employees Healthy & Safe

Columbia: MEM 101 N Keene St. Columbia, MO Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Chesterfield: MEM 663 Trade Ctr Blvd. Chesterfield, MO Thursday, April 11th, 2013 8:00am to 3:00pm

How to Create an Effective Employee Wellness Program

Steve Potje, RN, CCP, HPC, BS/BA Executive Director National Association of Disease Management & Wellness Professionals

The Prevention & Early Intervention of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders

Paul Krewson, OTR/L, CEAS III Occupational Therapist & Ergonomist Peak Ergonomics, Inc.

Safety Inspections: Find Hazards Before They Find You!

Mark Woodward Loss Prevention Trainer Missouri Employer’s Mutual

The Use of Ergonomic Evaluation in Medical Causation

Vic Zuccarello, OTR/L, C.E.A.S. II, ABDA Owner & Vice President Bio-Ergonomics, Inc.

This is NOT an Ergonomic Chair

Conference Room Chairs are NOT for Prolonged Sitting

Frequently I see workers sitting in conference room chairs for 6 to 8 hours a day as their computer workstation task chair. Conference room chairs are designed for a person to sit in for a short duration and for the person to be conversing and not working on a computer. In order for a chair to be ergonomic, it must be fully adjustable, and the adjustments should be easy to make from a seated position.

This is not an ergonomic chair. It is a simple conference room chair not designed for prolonged sitting and it is not fully adjustable.

Features to look for in an Ergonomic Chair in Order of Importance:

Appropriate Weight Limit Capacity:

Given the potential for a catastrophic injury due to a collapsed chair and the obesity epidemic in the United States, I place this at the top of the list. Most chairs have a weight capacity of 250 to 300 pounds. You may need to get a bariatric ergonomic chair for employees who weigh more than the average chair’s capacity.

Height Adjustable:

The feet must be firmly on the floor, and the hip should be slightly higher than the knee. If the worker is short, use a footrest. For tall workers, use a tall cylinder.

Adjustable Lumbar Support:

The worker should have firm support in the curve of the low back, and the lumbar support should be vertically adjustable. Additionally, the attached air pump allows users to adjust the pressure entering the spine.

Adjustable Seat Pan Depth:

Many times, the seat pan is too deep, and this prevents the worker from sitting fully back into the chair and having the lumbar spine supported. An appropriate seat pan depth will prevent people from perching on the front part of the chair. There should be 2-4 fingers width between the front of the chair and the back of the knees.

Adjustable Back Rest Tilt:

The backrest should have the ability to change angles from an upright seated position to a reclined position. It should also have a locking mechanism allowing the worker to lean back into the chair without the back-rest reclining.

Adjustable Arm Rests:

Keep arms close to the body and ensure armrests can move in and out for wide or narrow frames. Additionally, the armrests should move vertically to accommodate torso length and require padding with gel or memory foam. A nice additional feature is for them to slide forward, backward and tilt towards the keyboard.

Also, I highly recommend finding a vendor who is an expert in ergonomic products and not just a salesperson. There is a big difference and it is challenging to find the former. I recommend finding a local vendor as well; someone who can bring you samples and sell you used chairs is ideal. If you could pay $600 for an excellent used ergonomic chair, that is much better than paying $300 for a brand-new mediocre chair. A high-quality ergonomic chair will last for many years, sometimes decades. My personal chair is over 10 years old and in perfect condition, aside from expected superficial damage, and continues to be fully functional and supportive. There are a lot of high-quality chairs to choose from, and finding the right one can be difficult. Feel free to send a message to me if you have any questions or would like further assistance.

An article by Paul Krewson, Founder & Chairman of Peak Ergonomics, Inc.

Does Stretching Prevent Injuries?

I recently gave a lecture to a class of safety professionals. I started with the following question: “True or false, stretching prevents injuries?” About one-third of the class said true, one third said false, and the remainder didn’t give an answer. Over the past 20 years, I have read various articles in the safety professional literature that are both conflicting and confusing.

Does Stretching Prevent Injury?

We need to further define our terms and consider all the variables before making this binary decision. What do we mean when we say stretching? What type of injuries are we trying to prevent? According to the bulk of the medical literature, injury prevention is being considered in the context of sports-related injuries, and the type of stretching that is mainly discussed is passive static stretching. The literature generally says that balance and agility exercises have the greatest benefit for preventing athletic injuries. Next, down the hierarchy are strengthening exercises that show some benefit of preventing sports injuries. Overwhelmingly, the literature says that there is little to no evidence to support the idea that passive static stretching will prevent a sports-related injury. Furthermore, the literature suggests that performing passive static stretching before an athletic event could be counterproductive.

Passive static stretching is when a muscle is fully lengthened by placing one or more joints into an end range position using an external force, such as another body part or an object. The goal is to achieve greater flexibility. Martial arts, gymnastics, and dancing are common sports that require a tremendous amount of flexibility and involve passive static stretching in their training program.

One of the most common sports injuries is a torn ligament in the knee such as the ACL. I suffered this injury when a judo player performed an illegal throw on me. I trained for 2 hours every day, 6 days a week. I did every type of exercise possible and I can say conclusively that there was no exercise I could have done to prevent this injury. My knee was traumatically hyperextended and twisted which tore my ACL, LCL, and lateral meniscus. It is fairly common for an athlete to be placed into a traumatic situation outside their control, in which injury will occur. The fact remains that there is no exercise that can completely protect an athlete from injury. It is the goal of athletic trainers to figure out which exercises provide the greatest benefit in forming some level of protection against injuries. Currently, the literature clearly states a hierarchy of exercises to prevent athletic injury, with passive stretching at the bottom.

The literature that explores stretching dissects it further, with a clear delineation between passive static and dynamic active. Dynamic means that the stretch is moving or held for a short time of 3-5 seconds, as opposed to static, in which there is no movement and the stretch is held for 15-30 seconds. Active means that the stretch is performed under the exertion of the opposite muscle group. For example, to actively stretch the hamstrings, you will activate and contract your quads. It is currently agreed upon that dynamic active should precede the sporting event for warm up and preparation of exertions. Passive static stretching is generally reserved for other training periods when the action is being devoted to improving flexibility; many athletes perform passive stretching at the end of training or competition.

Over the past few decades, an analogy has been made between a sports athlete and a factory worker. This seems to have been done to help persuade factory workers to take an active interest in self-care and performing preventative measures. Since athletes used to start their pregame activity with passive static stretching, this was passed on as an activity for the “Industrial Athlete” to perform as well. The sporting world has since evolved towards dynamic active pregame stretching, while many of the factory workers are still stuck in the old passive static stretching routine.

We prefer to use the terminology of “Ergo break” vs stretching program. We like this nuance because it focuses on improving circulation, removal of waste products, and increased oxygenation of musculature that is working, rather than simply improving flexibility. We aren’t creating gymnasts in the workforce, but re-oxygenating muscles will reduce fatigue, improve performance, and reduce injury risk. Active dynamic vs passive static is one of the key differentiating points. We also incorporate posture correction, tendon glides, and nerve glides into our active dynamic program.

It is important that the worker stay tuned into their body and perform the appropriate routine as needed. For example, if a worker is doing prolonged forceful pinching and starts to notice hand fatigue, then they should take a micro-break and perform the appropriate active dynamic stretches and glides. This will replenish the involved tissues with freshly oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood supply while removing waste deposits. We believe this start of shift routine is good for workers to practice in order to make sure proper technique is being performed. The greater benefit comes when fatigue begins to set into the tissues and the worker addresses this with an Ergo break. These activities also provide a rest pause, which is when workers intentionally pause their work to rest and recover from repetition.

We design Ergo breaks that are most suitable for the work being performed. If a department performs precise assembly work, then the activities will mainly be devoted to the distal upper extremity, neck, eyes and posture correction. We also consider if a job is employee-paced or machine-paced. Employee-paced jobs are ideal for Ergo breaks, while machine-paced jobs will require a relief person. Furthermore, it is good to have a protocol in which an Ergo break commences anytime the line quits moving; employees can chat with their colleagues while performing the Ergo break. It’s important to point out that this Ergo break program is designed to be in conjunction with an early intervention program. If an employee is having difficulty performing a dynamic active exercise, or the ergo break is not relieving the fatigue, then that person is referred into our early intervention program and we work with them individually, utilizing ergonomics, education, preventative exercise, and perform OSHA basic first aid as needed.

I hope this article brings more clarity to the question asked, as I prefer to ask a different set of questions. Does dynamic active stretching, posture correction, tendon glides, nerve glides and rest pause reduce fatigue in the worker? Unequivocally yes! Can the build-up of fatigue lead to the development of a musculoskeletal disorder? Indubitably yes! We are the largest ergonomics consulting business in the state of Missouri, serving over 50 communities in the Show Me State. We have seen first hand the benefit of Ergo breaks in conjunction with an ergonomics and early intervention program.

An article by Paul Krewson, Founder & Chairman of Peak Ergonomics, Inc.