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Ways to identify risk factors for cumulative trauma disorder


Recently I had an ergonomic specialist look at my workstation. My job is primarily on the computer and that puts me at a greater risk for ergonomic injury or cumulative trauma disorder. This affects soft tissues usually caused by activities that you repeat over time.

Identify risk factors

Many people don’t know they’re at risk and it is important to look for any factors you’re exposed to. Last year, I wrote a blog about being aware of signs and symptoms of ergonomic injury.

You can reduce risks for ergonomic injury or cumulative trauma disorder with simple measures. Being aware of the following points can be helpful:

  • Posture

    Perhaps you are slouching in your chair or you have a job that requires standing and you bend, twist or reach too far. Any unnatural postures can overwork soft tissues and joints. These then lead to cumulative trauma disorder. Also even in good posture, if you stay in one position for a length of time (static posture), it can cause the muscles to tense up and blood flow to reduce.

  • Force

    This is any pressure or strain on the body. This occurs when you grip, pull, push or lift heavy materials. Be aware of using proper techniques to carry out these tasks. For example if you are lifting heavy materials, lift from the thigh and not your arms and back.

  • Repetition

    This is when you do the same tasks over and over. Make sure you take breaks and use proper ergonomic posture.

  • Environment

    It is important to be aware of the surroundings to prevent injury. Extreme temperatures, vibration, and lightening can all be factors.

  • Duration

    Length of time can contribute to increasing risk factor. The longer the duration of the repetitive motion, the greater the risk.

Last year’s blog goes into specific ways you can reduce risks for ergonomic injury.

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