Finding Solutions to work-related musculoskeletal injury and discomfort
Since 1987, the UCLA-LOSH Program has trained thousands of workers and supervisors in office ergonomics, primarily working through joint labor management health and safety committees of such unions as the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Teachers.
LOSH has also provided consultation to local labor unions on the development of health and safety contract language for computer operators. Trainees gain information on musculoskeletal, visual, and other problems associated with computer use. They learn to recognize early symptoms of computer related disorders, and they gain new skills in designing and adjusting computer workstations.
LOSH has partnered with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Local 3090 to teach basic ergonomic awareness to 3,200 Los Angeles City office workers and a train-the-trainer course for a sub-group of 120 peer health advisors who will coach their co-workers on proper ergonomic techniques for setting up and adjusting their work stations.
How LOSH Can Help
LOSH will provide sample checklists as well as referrals to helpful websites, persons, and organizations that can assist you with assessing your job site and work tasks for ergonomic hazards. In some circumstances as a fee-for-services, we can study your worksite by doing walk through assessments and/or training in basic office ergonomics. Please note that LOSH is not an inspection or enforcement agency.
The walk through assessments will provide insight on tailoring a training to your worksites needs if your organization, group, factory, field, site requests a training. A walk through is not always required; however, it is helpful in evaluating the work performed and the tools and equipment used.
LOSH can provide hands-on training and/or awareness sessions for employees. If your group is interested in sustaining a long term health and safety program, LOSH will provide an ergonomics training to a team of designated leaders to serve as Health Promoters in the work place. We can also assist your department or organization in developing a health and safety plan or ergonomics program.
Common Problems and Solutions
Common wear and tear areas are regions of the body where workers frequently experience pain or discomfort are the back, neck, shoulders, hands, wrists, to name a few.
When workers are exposed to hazards such as repetitive motion or stationary positions, there are avenues for alleviating pain and/or discomfort. For example, workers can add recovery time to their bodies by taking mini-breaks. Recovery time is a period of rest for your muscles, tendons, and nerves, and eyes. Recovery time is the length of rest between exertions. Short work pauses can reduce discomfort. Inadequate rest periods between exertions can decrease performance. As the duration of the uninterrupted work increases, so does the amount of recovery time needed.
Mini-breaks, generally less than one minute, are several short breaks interspersed throughout the day. Mini-breaks provide a rest for your body, especially visually demanding tasks, prolonged sitting, standing, bending tasks. Mini-breaks help reduce fatigue and may improve your concentration. To take a mini-break, engage in another activity other than the one that your attention is focused on. For example, if you have been starring at the computer for more than one hour, you may want to walk to the mail room, or do filing.
Another activity workers may incorporate to improve ergonomics is to make adjustments. Workers can make adjustments to their posture, bending, lifting, techniques. Workers can also modify their tools, or how they use their tools and equipment. LOSH can teach you and your coworkers how to incorporate strategies to feel good and not put your body under undue stress while working.