June is National Safety Month, and during the week of June 10th through the 16th the National Safety Council is focusing on the issue of working ergonomically. Ergonomics involves making sure a person’s work environment and equipment appropriately fits their body. It is important both to create a comfortable work environment and prevent workplace injuries.

Conditions caused by poor ergonomics cause soft tissue disorders frequently impacting the tendons, muscles, nerves joints and spinal discs. Injuries commonly associated with poor ergonomic design include repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain and overexertion. Nationwide, overexertion is responsible for roughly 3.2 million emergency room visits and it is the third leading cause of unintentional injuries, according to the National Safety Council.

These conditions can arise from typing on a keyboard, working on an assembly line or overexerting oneself when lifting or pushing an object. The National Safety Council gives several symptoms to watch for which include:

  • Numbness
  • Tenderness
  • Tingling
  • Swelling
  • Loss of Strength

These types of symptoms may make it difficult or impossible for you to do your job. Treatment, however, is possible. It may include rest, exercises or in some cases surgery.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your physician. In addition, if you believe the cause of your condition is work-related you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can provide information about potential claims and assist you in obtaining available benefits.

Source: National Safety Council, Work Ergonomically, June 2012.