Preventive Measures and Controls

  • To prevent tiring and straining muscles that are used repetitively during specific tasks, try and set up your schedule so that you can break up a routinely performed task with other tasks such as filing or retrieving books throughout the day. Generally, different tasks use different muscle groups and by rotating tasks throughout the day the likelihood of straining muscle groups is significantly reduced. You should also take regular breaks and a few moments to stretch heavily-used muscle groups. This will prevent them from becoming stiff and sore.
Computer work
  • To work comfortably at a computer workstation you need to have your body in the proper orientation relative to the monitor, keyboard, source document,  chair and floor.
  • See Workstation Ergonomics for additional information.
Loading and Unloading Equipment
  • Before handling motorized equipment, be sure that it can not be started and that fuel has been drained or sufficiently contained.
Materials Handling (Image)
  • Minimize repetitive actions by rotating tasks as much as possible.
  • Reduce the size and weight of the load to make handling easier.
  • Be mindful and protect against sharp edges. Use gloves, coveralls and safety shoes.
  • Lighting, temperature and humidity can all contribute to the likelihood of an accident occurring.
  • Identify and assess the weight of the load.
  • Be sure load is free to move.
  • Be sure your path and end location are free of obstacles and debris.
  • Stretch your muscles to warm up.
  • Stand close to the load and face the way you intend to move.
  • Use a wide stance to gain balance.
  • Keep your arms straight.
  • Lift the load as close to your body as possible.
  • Lift smoothly without jerking.
  • Avoid twisting and side bending while lifting.
Using Your Telephone (Image)
  • Do not cradle the telephone between your shoulder and ear as this can cause decreased circulation, pinched nerves and produce neck and upper back pain.
  • Keep the telephone near your seated location and hold the phone to your ear. If you use the telephone for extended periods of time, consider using a hands-free device.
Handling, Stacking and Transporting Books (Image)
  • Stack books orderly so that they will not fall over.
  • When lifting a selection of books try to keep the load down to a manageable size.
  • When picking up the pile of books be sure to keep them close to your body for better control.
  • Avoid working in a bent down posture while sorting books off of lower shelves by moving the books from the lower to an upper shelf for sorting.
Shelving (Image)
  • Avoid repetitive lifting above your shoulders. This increases the risk of straining your neck and shoulder muscles.
  • You may want to try using two hands to reduce fatigue on your dominant hand and neck and shoulder on one side.
Safe Use of Carts (Image)
  • Carts should be used whenever feasible.
  • Carts should be pushed, not pulled.
  • Use well maintained carts with large, low-rolling, low-resistance wheels for easier maneuvering. This will help decrease the force needed to move the cart.
  • Handles on carts should be at waist height and positioned to allow for neutral postures.

Safety Tools