Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ergonomics Tips for MN School Workers: Avoiding Work-Related Injuries at School

When there is a mismatch between a worker’s physical capabilities and the physical requirements of a job, musculoskeletal disorders and injuries can occur. School workers, including teachers, support staff, school administrators, custodians, librarians, and kitchen workers frequently sustain musculoskeletal disorders and injuries in the course and scope of their employment. Unfortunately, these types of workers compensation claims are also often quite contentious.

Some common types of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders that occur frequently among school workers include:

Sprains and strains
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Rotator cuff tears
Lumbar or cervical disc degeneration
Lumbar or cervical disc herniations or bulges
Trigger finger
Ganglion cyst
Radial tunnel syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Plica syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Medial collateral tears
Meniscus tears

Symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders can begin as numbness or stiffness in joints or tingling, aching sensations in muscles. Pain or burning sensations may be evident, too. Often symptoms progress gradually, becoming more severe with prolonged exposure to the condition causing them. Damage to nerves, tendons, joints, or soft tissue can result.

To avoid injuries, school workers should consider the following tips:


1) Set your computer workstation for a comfortable posture.
2) Avoid bending over for long periods when working with students. Use a chair and sit down or squat for short periods.


1) Set up your computer station to allow you to sit and work in a comfortable position.
2) Keep frequently checked-out books on a cart that is easily accessible.


1) Avoid lifting mop buckets to pour them into sinks. Use a floor train and tip the bucket, or use a bottom-emptying mop bucket.
2) Take frequent breaks while doing repetitive or strenuous activities.

Kitchen workers:    

1) Store heavier items on shelves between knee and waist level. Open large supply boxes and put items away individually.
2) Use carts or dollies to move pots, supplies, freight, or other heavy items.


1) Set your computer workstation to allow you to sit and work in a comfortable position.
2) Take regular mini-breaks away from your workstation.

If you’re a Minnesota teacher, administrator, librarian, kitchen worker, or custodian, and you’ve sustained an injury as a result of your work activities, you may be entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation injuries, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and/or rehabilitation benefits.

For a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights, call us at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email to speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers.

For more information visit us at MeuserLaw.com!


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