Taking care of Yourself The Office and Beyond Classified Staff Development Day March 17, 2004
RSI Risk Factors
- High frequency of movement
- Mechanical Stress (direct pressure)
Additional Risk Factors Specific personal and non-occupational
- Tightness, discomfort, stiffness, soreness or burning in hands, wrists, fingers, forearms or elbows
- Tingling, coldness, or numbness in hands
- Clumsiness or loss of strength and coordination in the hands
- Pain that wakes you up at night
Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Warm up and stretch before starting activities that are repetitive, static or prolonged.
- Take frequent breaks from any sustained posture every 20 -30 minutes and stretch stiff muscles.
- Respect pain. Change positions or stop whenever activities cause pain.
- Recognize early signs of the inflammatory process and treat early.
- Only use splints and wrist supports after instruction by your physician or therapist.
- Maintain erect position of back and neck with shoulders relaxed.
- Use proper positioning during all activities.
- Keep wrists as neutral as possible.
- Avoid bending neck forward for prolonged periods of time.
- Avoid static positions for prolonged periods of time.
- When possible, alternate activities frequently throughout the day.
- Reassess the task setup and look for alternative methods.
- Avoid repetitive or prolong grip/pretension activities.
- Avoid tugging, jerking, or pounding with hand.
Tool/ Environmental Modification
- Avoid tools with finger groves, hard plastic handles, sharp edges or small diameter handles.
- Use power devices when possible.
- Use grips/tape to build up small diameter pens/pencils for writing.
- Use the longest tool possible for best leverage.
- Use a vise or clamp to stabilize objects.
- Always use a step stool or ladder to reach above shoulder level or to lift objects overhead.
- Use carts/ dollies to carry heavy loads.
- Tilt containers or object to avoid bending the wrist to pick up objects.
- Use the largest joints and muscles to do the job.
- Use two hands to lift rather than one, even with light objects and tasks.
- Slide or push and pull objects instead of lifting.
- Keep reaching to a minimum.
Tips for Computer Use
- 1. Maintain good posture when working.
- 2. Keep your elbows in a slightly open angle (100 – 110 degrees) with your wrists in a straight position.
- 3. Avoid overreaching. Keep the mouse and keyboard within close reach. Center the most frequently used section section of the keyboard directly in front of you.
- 4. Center the monitor in front of you at arm’s length distance and position the top of the monitor 2” to 3” above seated eye level.
- 5. Place source documents on a document holder positioned between your monitor and keyboard.
- Use good typing technique.
- Hit the keyboard keys with light force.
- Keep your wrists straight and hands relaxed when using your pointer.
- Limit repetitive motions.
- 9. Customize your computer settings.
- Take eye breaks and intermittently refocus on distant objects.
- Work at a reasonable pace.
- Pressure on the back varies with sleeping position.
- Use pillows under your neck and knees if you sleep on your back.
- Side sleepers should use pillows between their ear and the bed and between their knees to maintain spine alignment
- Select a mattress firm enough to provide good back support and alignment.
- Avoid basing selection on coil count and design.
- Try out mattress for personal comfort before purchasing.
- Mattresses have a life span of 8-10 years and should be replaced as they wear out.
- Consider your sleeping preferences when selecting a pillow.
- Select a pillow that supports your head and fills in your neck curve.
- The firmness of the mattress will affect the thickness of the pillow.
- Mattress pads affect the size and thickness of your pillow.
Life away from Palomar
In the Garden Safety First!
- Wear gloves at all times.
- Take a break every hour or switch to another activity.
- Learn how to use and store your tools correctly.
- Use wide handled tools, tools with padded handles.
- Avoid sustained and constant gripping and awkward motions.
- Don’t sit back on your knees.
- EHS webpage: www.palomar.edu/ehs
- Healthy Computing: www.healthycomputing.com
- Hand Helpers: www.handhelpers.com
- Sloat Gardens: www.sloatgardens.com
- Office Ergonomics: www.office-ergo.com