If you are working from home, there is a decent chance that your workstation is not ergonomically correct. With makeshift offices and using a laptop on any available surface, the workstation may be contributing to or causing, musculoskeletal injuries.
If companies are not providing the proper equipment, such as chairs, desks and adjustable keyboards, there is a greater chance that workers will develop injuries such as carpal tunnel or low back pain.
Common work-related musculoskeletal disorders
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if work conditions contribute greatly to a condition or make a condition worse, this is a work-related injury. There are a number of musculoskeletal disorders that are common in an office setting:
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Some of the risk factors involved include awkward postures, inadequate lighting, repetition and long work duration.
Home office ergonomic solutions
There are various strategies to minimize or eliminate ergonomic hazards in a home setting. One is to allow the employee to take more frequent or longer breaks. Another is to provide personal protective equipment such as wrist splints or glasses to minimize computer glare.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries provides advice on how to better set up a workstation to allow for better posture and positioning. This includes sitting in a chair that provides low back support and positioning the chair and desk so the feet have support, there are relaxed shoulders and the head is level.
When using a computer, the elbows should be at about a 90-degree angle with the wrists straight and level. A full-size mouse and keyboard are also better than what most laptops offer.
If you continue to work at home, and you are having trouble setting up an ergonomically friendly station, you may want to talk with your employer about providing better equipment to prevent injuries.