Ergonomics Can Help Reduce Workers' Comp Claims

A more ergonomically designed technology setup can make office work more comfortable and productive.

While 40 hours a week on a desktop or ­laptop may seem like easy labor, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that more than $15 billion in workers’ compensation costs arise each year from work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Millions of workers are affected from sitting in static positions without breaks and straining their necks to view monitors placed too high or low.

One notable cause of strain? Mice, which force users to make small, exact movements with hands, fingers and thumbs. The repetition can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, which can require surgery to avoid permanent nerve damage and restricted range of motion.

For a small business, the loss of productive hours can be a financial hardship. Plus, the Washington State Labor and Industries Department reports that workers’ compensation spending for carpal tunnel syndrome was among the highest for all injuries or illnesses.

Ergonomically designed mice have shown promise in alleviating the potential harm of prolonged use.

Among these, the Evoluent USB Wireless VerticalMouse 4 is designed to put a user’s arm in a neutral position to relieve stress on the wrist and other joints. The Kinesis DXT 2 Fingertip, a vertical mouse, can be used in both hands. And the 3M Ergonomic Mouse EM550GPS operates like a joystick.

Ergonomic keyboards can also reduce physical strain. The Microsoft Surface keyboard is a good example.

Desks that can adjust for the user — from sitting to standing — can help with posture and lessen spine alignment issues and other musculoskeletal disorders.

And in the seating category, the Humanscale Freedom Chair has a weight-sensitive recline feature and synchronously adjustable armrests to keep the sitter comfortable while also lowering the risk of long-term back injury.

Mar 07 2018