While doing bench work, lab technicians may collect samples, record data and help research projects run smoothly. However, even with a diverse list of tasks on their plates, technicians often sit or stand in place for long periods of time. If your lab technicians are not making their body mechanics priorities in the lab, they can be prone to musculoskeletal pain and injury. Proper ergonomic techniques can be crucial to performance and concentration.
4 ergonomic mistakes that make bench work in the lab harder
Doing bench work in the lab can mean long hours of sitting without proper back support or posture. Workers who practice poor ergonomic habits can experience fatigue and chronic pain. According to one study, people with chronic low back pain tend to sit for longer periods of time than people who don’t experience chronic back pain. Lab technicians doing bench work can especially be at risk of developing back and neck pain from long hours of sitting and repetitive motion. The following are common ergonomic mistakes your workers may be making in the lab:
- Hunching over the bench — While it may be tempting to bend over a sample to get a closer look, doing it consistently can have consequences. Bending over the lab bench for long periods of time creates sustained poor posture, flattening the natural curves of the spine. This can lead to intense neck and back pain while working. To prevent these symptoms, workers should adjust the height of their bench, chair and equipment — like their microscopes — to work at the eye-level position. This limits neck strain and hunched shoulders and promotes better spine position. They should also practice maintaining a neutral spine in both sitting and standing postures.
- Skipping breaks — When workers skip breaks, they can place prolonged strain on their eyes, back and neck. It can be a good idea for lab technicians to build breaks into their day. Doing so can break up monotonous, repetitive motions and limit the risk of overuse injuries. Experts suggest getting up every 20 minutes and moving for at least two minutes to encourage blood flow throughout the body while at work.
- Wearing tight or uncomfortable shoes — When standing for long periods of time, the type of shoes you wear can make a big difference. Workers who wear ill-fitting shoes run the risk of compromising their balance and stressing their knees. Research shows that wearing comfortable shoes throughout the day distributes weight evenly and reduces knee pain. In addition, wearing compression hosiery can encourage proper blood flow and provide leg support while standing.
- Remaining in one position for long periods of time — It’s better to alternate between sitting and standing rather than staying in the same position for a long period of time. A consistent lack of movement can restrict blood flow and lead to increased fatigue. Many workbenches can be adjusted for height so that shifting positions from sitting to standing is more convenient.
Work-Fit can help your employees limit pain while doing bench work in the lab
Do your lab workers spend long periods of time sitting or standing at their workbench? They could be making ergonomic mistakes that are limiting their performance. Our team at Work-Fit can help train your employees on ergonomic practices that help them do lab work efficiently and safely. Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees healthy.