Ergonomics

Planning work correctly can minimise the risk of back injury and other injuries to muscles and bones by avoiding – among other things – heavy lifting and inappropriate working positions.

Planning involves three conditions in particular:

  • The workplace must be laid out to suit individual staff members.
  • Tools and machinery must be suitable for both the work and the person doing the work.
  • Use ergonomic devices, tools and technical aids. This enhances safety and reduces injury. Find out more at www.bygergo.dk.

Back injury and other injuries to muscles, joints and bones are known collectively as injuries of the motor apparatus.

Risk of back injury and other injuries of the motor apparatus

Heavy lifting, poor working positions and monotonous work that places a strain on the body are the most frequent causes of back injury and other injuries of the motor apparatus, as demonstrated by statistics relating to reports to the Working Environment Authority.

Heavy lifting
Heavy lifting may cause pain and problems in muscles, tendons and joints, particularly in the back. Pushing or pulling can cause the same problems. In particular, sudden or heavy strain can also cause acute injury.

Poor working positions
Poor working positions and incorrect movements can lead to myoses, arthritis and other problems in the muscles, tendons and joints.
Myoses and infiltrations in the neck and shoulders often occur when work is done with the arms above shoulder height, with static work and where the neck is bent forward for long periods.

Floorlayers, mason paviors and other people who do a lot of work kneeling run a greater risk of arthritis than other people. Standing or sitting in the same working position strains the circulation, and there is a risk of fluid accumulating in the legs.

Monotonous, repetitive work
Monotonous movements which are repeated often over the course of the day increase the risk of injury.

Tenosynovitis and pain in the shoulders, elbows and wrists are typical consequences of working using repeated, rapid movements or where a lot of force is used.

This may consequently also result in chronic problems in the form of elevated blood pressure, for example.

Heavy work
Heavy work may cause acute injury and arthritis in the joints in the body. The hips and knees are particularly vulnerable in people working with heavy work for a number of years.

Overloading of the muscles, joints and bones becomes apparent only when people feel tired and their bodies are sore, and they suffer from pain which diminishes when they take a break.

If the break is not long enough, the pain becomes more constant and they find it harder to do their work. This requires treatment from a doctor or physiotherapist.

In the long term, there is a risk of chronic damage and problems. It is often the case that actual changes cannot be seen on X-rays or scans until very late.
External factors such as cold, draughts and vibration often enhance the effects mentioned.