Safety Tips Ergonomics Injury prevention Musculoskeletal disorders Safe lifting

Don’t ignore shoulder pain

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Photo: Jan-Otto/iStockphoto

In 2012, more than 68,000 cases involving days away from work occurred due to shoulder injuries, according to the National Safety Council chartbook, “Injury Facts.” Shoulder injuries can seriously affect a worker’s life. The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation states that pain is the most common symptom of a shoulder injury, with other symptoms including stiffness, a “locking” sensation, and numbness or tingling down the arm.

TDI-DWC cautions against ignoring the pain of a shoulder injury – as some people tend to do – or underestimating the extent of the injury. Instead, consult your medical professional if you believe you’ve injured your shoulder. TDI-DWC recommends the following tips to help prevent shoulder injuries on the job:

  • Ensure your chair provides proper support, and sit as far back as possible in it.
  • Make sure your monitor is directly in front of you and within reach of your fingertips.
  • When looking at your monitor, your eyes should be level with the toolbar.
  • Keep your elbows and knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Use a footstool, if necessary, to support your feet.
  • Take regular breaks to stretch and walk around.
  • Use caution when performing even mildly exertive lifting. Keep your back as straight as possibly by bending and using your legs for your lifting power.
  • Always be sure to follow proper lifting techniques.
  • Refrain from reaching for heavy objects. Instead, use a step stool to retrieve items up high.
  • Listen to your body to know when you need to rest, and stay in good shape to avoid strains and sprains.

Additionally, TDI-DWC recommends that employers conduct workplace evaluations, implement appropriate control measures when possible and train employees on how to prevent shoulder injuries.