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3.1 Awareness of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs)

Signs and symptoms of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) of the upper extremities include pain, numbness and/or tingling of the fingers, wrists, elbows, forearms, and/or shoulders. Chronic back and neck problems may result in pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates to the arms and legs, and may limit the back's range of motion.

3.2 WMSD Risk Factors in the Office and Laboratory

Recognize the following risk factors for WMSDs in the office and lab:

  1. Performing the same motion or motion pattern every few seconds for more than two hours continuously or six hours daily;
  2. Maintaining an unsupported fixed or awkward position for more than one hour continuously or four hours daily;
  3. Using vibrating or impacting tools or equipment for more than one or two hours per day;
  4. Using forceful hand exertions for more than two hours daily;
  5. Lifting heavy or awkward objects; and
  6. Twisting, turning or reaching continuously.

3.2.1 Reducing Injuries in the Office and Laboratory

Reducing the risk of WMSDs can be accomplished by following these steps:

  1. In the office, review the online ergonomics training, and make any necessary changes to workstation set-up. In the lab, review the information on lab ergonomics on the EH&S website and ensure that proper lab ergonomic guidelines are followed.
  2. As soon as symptoms occur, evaluate the workplace and make improvements where needed.
  3. Use ergonomically appropriate work habits.
  4. Use appropriate equipment and furniture.
  5. Perform workplace exercises to relieve physical stress.
  6. Take a two-minute mini-break for every hour of keyboarding, pipetting, or other repetitive work.