Micro Breaks = Macro Benefit

Ergonomics is the science of the interaction between people and their work. The ergonomic concerns in the workplace are not limited to computer workstations, assembly operations, or lifting tasks. 

Risk factors like excessive force, repetitive tasks, and awkward posture can surely stress the human body to the point where injury occurs. A combination of ergonomic risk factors is the real concern, however.

One of the primary reasons that workers sustain injury involves overload of work without enough recovery time. Whether a worker is performing extremely repetitive tasks, such as assembly or typing, or is exposed to prolonged static tasks, such as sitting or working overhead, the human body will fatigue after a period of time.

When fatigue sets in, muscles become stiff and cramped, flexibility decreases significantly, and blood flow to the affected body area is reduced.  The end result is a significant increase of risk of physical injury.

How can you counteract these forces: Do your bodies a favor—take a micro break: 30 – 40 seconds of light movement and stretching (especially for affected body parts) will help keep the muscles limber, squeeze out metabolic waste products from muscles and bring in fresh, nutrient-rich blood to maintain joints with a good range of motion. If you haven’t already, you should consider speaking to the benefits of micro breaks in your Employee Handbook. They may be micro but they do big things!

 Stretches (left to right): side bend reach, trunk rotation, backward bends, thigh stretch, hamstring stretch, hip & buttock stretch.


Posted by Bill O'Connor