It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this could not be more true in the case of dental office ergonomics. If you can create an environment that is purposely designed to remove unnecessary risk, you will see a net increase in productivity along with higher morale for your entire team.
After all, preventing one team member from experiencing an occupational injury or developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), it benefits everyone.
Causes of Pain
When it comes to pain in the workplace, we need to examine the common causes of injury. Many of our daily tasks involve repetitive movement, long spans of inactivity, and exertion – all of which can lead to occupational injuries and MSDs.
- Force – Lifting and or moving heavy objects, or reaching and straining from an awkward position – can cause injury
- Repetition – Repeating movements like twisting or rotating the spine, can injure your back
- Non-impact injury – Excessive physical effort including pushing, turning, holding, carrying, or throwing or repetitive motion like a microtask resulting in stress or strain on a part of the body due to a repetitive motion (typically without strenuous effort such as heavy lifting)
- Inactivity – Poor posture or sitting all day in a chair with inadequate back support or bad posture.
Prevent Problems Before They Arise
Pay attention to your posture. Our ergonomics specialist, Katrina Klein, shares that when you, or a team member, are standing, make sure to balance your weight evenly and take care not to slouch.
When sitting, adjust the height of your chair so that feet rest flat on the floor and your thighs are even, or slightly below your hips. Prevent extra pressure on your lower back by removing items from your back pockets when sitting.
Take frequent breaks and move your body when you have the chance. Stretching your back, neck, shoulders, hips, and hands frequently will help keep you limber and loose, making it less likely that you will develop pain.
Start off right with the proper equipment. From chairs and desks in the office, to the layout of instruments in your operatory, making sure that everything is in place and easily reachable from a relaxed position is a sure-fire way to prevent injury and pain in the workplace. Listen to your body (and your team). If you must sit for prolonged periods, change your position and stretch often. Encourage periodic walks around the office, or outside, to give your team time to get up, gently stretch, and relieve tension.
Want to learn more about creating an ergonomically sound workplace? Contact our ergonomics specialist in California us to find out how we can help you and your team work without the unnecessary risk of injury.