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Awkward positions

Ergonomic tips to reduce physical discomfort

Holding large packages at a mid-thigh or mid-chest when lifting is one tip that experts offer to avoid musculoskeletal disorders.

If your body aches after a day at the office or in a plant, you need to become familiar with ergonomics.

Ergonomics refers to the study of workers, their jobs and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which result from jobs that involve repetitive motion or sitting for long periods. MSDs can result in hand, wrist or neck strain that sometimes can become debilitating

To help mark Ergonomics Awareness Month in February, the Postal Service’s Safety team is sharing tips to help employees avoid MSDs by making slight adjustments to how jobs are performed.

For example, employees who sit at a desk and input information on computers, should:

• Keep the computer monitor no higher than eye level;
• Turn the monitor away from bright lights to reduce eye strain;
• Place the computer keyboard directly in front of the monitor;
• Sit up straight to reduce back strain;
• Keep arms supported; and
• Get up, stretch and walk around regularly.

Employees who work in plants should always:

• Work carefully and deliberately;
• Exercise care when doing any lifting;
• Use tools such as reach and pull poles when necessary;
• Hold large packages at a mid-thigh or mid-chest height when lifting;
• Do stretch exercises to help reduce muscle injuries; and
• Take rest breaks.

The Safety Blue page has videos with additional ergonomics tips, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites have further information.