How important is posture to your work? Very important, in fact, no matter what type of work it is, in terms of preventing workplace injuries. Poor posture is a contributing factor in many musculoskeletal injuries – which rank high on the list of the most common disabling job-related injuries, according to the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. These include back pain, sprains, strains as well as various overuse and repetitive stress injuries, all of which are common in all types of workplaces, ranging from offices to more strenuous work environments such as construction sites, health care facilities, or warehouse work or manufacturing jobs.
Why Posture Matters in Preventing Workplace Injuries
Good posture is essential to the proper alignment of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, which is essential to ensuring their ability to work together smoothly and efficiently. Smooth, efficient motion – known as good body mechanics – ensures that stress is distributed properly as a person sits, stands, walks, lifts, twists, pushes, or pulls, reducing wear and tear on the body – particularly the joints, muscles, and connective tissues.
Poor posture, on the other hand, disturbs that natural, healthy alignment, placing the bones, joints, muscles, connective tissues, and nerves in positions that render them unable to work as intended. This can place undue stress on certain areas of the body, increasing wear and tear damage in those areas, which is the issue at the root of many strains, sprains, and back problems as well as a wide range of overuse and repetitive stress injuries.
Important Ways to Address Posture in Your Work
If you are seeing a high incidence of these injuries in your workplace, there are a number of injury prevention strategies that can help. Among the most effective tools for preventing workplace injuries related to poor posture and body mechanics are workplace ergonomic assessments. These assessments fall into two categories: proactive and reactive. Proactive assessments aid injury prevention by detecting stressful or high-risk work practices before injuries occur. Reactive assessments identify the underlying causes of injuries after they have occurred to help prevent them from happening again.
Physical abilities testing can also help, identifying employees who may have issues with posture, body mechanics, or other physical issues that can affect safe and efficient job performance. Comprehensive employee safety and ergonomics training can also help educate employees on how to use good posture and body mechanics in their work, as well as increase employee awareness of these measures in preventing workplace injuries.
Putting these injury prevention strategies in place can offer significant improvements in workplace safety. While they do represent an investment of both time and money, it is an investment that has the potential to pay off in the long run by producing substantial reductions in the financial costs – including workers' comp costs and the many indirect costs associated with these incidents – as well as the human costs of workplace injuries.