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People working at a correctly designed workstation and using the best available tools can still get injured. It happens where their work is poorly designed. Work organization involves:
Jobs that involve using only one kind of tool for one or a few tasks that do not vary in the movements and muscles used can cause an overload of those muscles, ligaments, tendons or tissues. The resulting overload on the same part of the body can cause pain and injury. A greater variety of tasks allow for changing body position to distribute the workload over different parts of the body, and to give overtaxed muscles some relief and recovery time.
A fast pace of work is a strong risk factor for WMSDs. If the pace is too fast, the muscles involved do not have enough time to recover from the effort and to restore sufficient energy to continue the work.
The work break is a time period between tasks. Even short periods of time, literally seconds, that allow one to relax muscles involved in operating tools are important in preventing injuries.
The rest break is the period after work stops. Besides allowing for refreshment, rest breaks can be used to stretch and relax.
An adjustment or acclimatization period is the time needed to get "in shape" when returning to work after a long absence, or when starting a new job. It should allow one to refresh old work habits or get used to a new routine. An adjustment period is a very important element of injury prevention. Inexperienced and "new" workers, as well as "old timers" returning to work after a period of recovery and rehabilitation, are more prone than most workers to both injury and re-injury, so adjustment periods are a vitally important way to reintegrate them into the workflow.
Training workers on the safe use of tools, and on the hazards involved in working with them, has always been extremely important. Today, more than ever, when new materials, new technologies and new equipment are replacing older ones faster then ever before, the importance of such training is magnified. The introduction of a new tool or equipment, as well as any change in way the job has been done previously should be preceded by refresher training that includes new information relevant to the changes being introduced. Even the best-designed tool, or the most ergonomically correct workstation, or the most up-to-date work organization will fail to prevent injuries if the worker is not properly trained.
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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.