Ingrid Dahl, ergonomist and physiotherapist, gives the following advice to employees and employers to reduce the risk of strain injuries:
Stand up and walk: Too much sitting is not good for your body. If possible, vary your working position by standing up now and then, and preferably take a few steps.
Movement breaks: One-minute long breaks preferably, but even micro-breaks of 5–10 seconds can significantly reduce strains on your body. Breaks are especially important if you work statically or in strained positions. Move during the break to restore the balance in your body. If you normally stand leaning forwards, stretch your back slightly backwards; if you have held at tool for a long time, stretch out your fingers, and so on.
Training: Exercise and muscle training strengthens your body and means that you can cope with larger strains at work and in your spare time. The most important muscle groups to train are the stomach muscles (for an upright and stable posture) and legs (for the strength to carry and work correctly).
Equipment: Before new machines and equipment are purchased, listen to the crew’s knowledge and experience. People who use such machines often know what advantages and disadvantages there are.
Technical aids: There is a large selection of ergonomic aids and appliances which can reduce strain. Desks that can be raised and lowered, devices which help heavy lifting, and brushes and pans with adjustable shafts are just a few examples.
Reduce stress: As employer and manager it is important to try to find procedures which create a sustainable pace of work. Stress increases the strain on the body and the risk of injuries becomes greater.
Training: Make sure that all new employees practise good working techniques from the start. Bad habits can be difficult to re-learn.
Report faults: If something is not working as it should onboard, the employer must be informed about it. Always report malfunctions as and when they arise.