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Ergonomics - Reducing Forceful Movements


Although it is helpful to work with an ergonomic specialist who can show you ways in which to make your work less stressful on the body, a common-sense approach to activities can also make a difference. This multi-part series will offer some common-sense tips - based on the ergonomic principles of avoiding repetition, force and awkward postures - that can help you avoid pain while working.

Part 1 discussed methods of reducing repetitive movements in the workplace. Part 3 will discuss methods of reducing awkward postures and positioning.

This is Part 2 � a discussion of methods to avoid excessive force during activity.

FORCE

Several years ago I worked with a woman who was avoiding cooking activities because opening cans and chopping food hurt. She had not purchased any new kitchen ware in many years and was using an old manual can opener. The dullness of the knife and can opener blades resulted in the woman having to use excessive bodily force when performing these kitchen tasks - straining the muscles in her arms and hands. Purchasing new knives with sharper blades and an electrical can opener allowed her to enjoy cooking again without pain.

Methods of Reducing Force

To reduce the force or exertion required to perform specific activities, use the appropriate tool for the job and maintain tools in good working order.

Next Week � Methods for Avoiding Awkward Postures

Marji Hajic is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Hand Therap
ist practicing in Santa Barbara, California. For more information on hand and upper extremity injuries, prevention and recovery, visit Hand Health Resources.

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