Ergonomics, in simple terms, means improving the fit between the body and an activity. Adjusting a workstation so a petite person can better reach materials or machinery is one example. The result is increased comfort and efficiency. By applying ergonomic principles, any task — done anywhere — can be made less taxing on the body and less likely to lead to injury.

If you don’t pay attention to ergonomics, activities done over time may lead to a musculoskeletal disorder. Commonly called MSDs, this group of physical problems usually affects soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and nerves) and joints. Although MSDs most frequently affect the back and wrists, your whole body is actually at risk. MSDs can damage fingers, elbows, and shoulders, as well as the neck and arms, and even the legs. Left untreated, an MSD may limit your range of motion or reduce your ability to grip objects.

Using ergonomic principles on the job reduces your risk of developing a work-related MSD. By acting now, you may save yourself months of future discomfort and possible time away from work. And don’t think of ergonomics only at work. Apply ergonomic principles to everything you do and treat your body right 24 hours a day.

For more information, Fort HealthCare’s HealthWorks program helps to return injured employees back to the workplace sooner and safer.