RSIs, also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), affect people in all workplaces and the risks of developing MSDs are all around us, even in our cars.
So here’s some timely advice from the IAPA (Industrial Accident Prevention Association) to share with your workers.
6 Ways to Minimize Risk of RSIs:
1. Adjust your seat’s lumbar support to fit your lower back. If your vehicle isn’t equipped with lumbar technology or you find it insufficient, use a small narrow cushion or rolled-up towel to help support your low back in a curved position.
2. Tilt your seat’s back rest to approximately 110 degrees. Tilting your seat too far forward may increase the strain on your low back; tilting it too far back could increase the strain on your shoulders.
3. Avoid driving for more than two hours without a break. A five-minute rest may be all that you need to stand, stretch your muscles and refresh your mind.
4. Ensure that your vehicle is properly maintained to minimize vibration.
5. If you have to use a laptop or take notes in your vehicle in between stops, sit in the passenger seat where there is more room and you don’t have to twist.
6. Avoid lifting immediately after a long drive. Sitting causes the ligaments that support your spine to stretch and the discs in your back to move out of their optimal position. Wait a few minutes before trying to lift something to help reduce the chance of straining your back.
There are two thing employers can do to help employees minimize their risk of injury: (1) Encourage your employees to report pain so that possible MSDs can be addressed early to avoid more serious health problems; and (2) provide proper training and information to employees on lifting techniques and ergonomics to prevent such pains and strains.