July 23, 2008

Workplace Posture Can Cause Achy Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

ITASCA, Ill., July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Football training season is in full swing, leaving many athletes prone to injuries on the field. While football players recognize the health risks associated with typical activity on the job, those in a traditional office setting may not understand that injuries aren't just for athletes. There are many common pains and strains that can take place at work, leaving both employers and employees at risk.

Workplace injuries, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are often painful reminders of the effects hours of poor posture and awkward motion can have on the body. In 2006, 357,160 cases of work-related musculoskeletal disorders resulted in lost workdays(1). In addition, costs associated with common pain conditions and lost productivity in the U.S. are estimated at $61.2 billion per year(2).

While office injuries have become more common, many can be minimized or prevented entirely through the principles of Ergonomics, or the science of designing work environments to better fit the capabilities of the individuals using them. Practicing proper Ergonomic principles at work helps ensure comfort, increase productivity and reduce health issues such as repetitive stress injuries, back, neck and shoulder strain and muscular pains.

"Employees are spending more time behind a desk and in front of a computer screen, making office aches and pains quite common, yet many are unaware of their cause," said Kevin Butler, board-certified ergonomist and consultant for Fellowes, Inc. "Daily habits such as slouching, reaching across your desk or bending your wrists up when you type can unknowingly cause stress on the body and lead to more serious medical conditions."

Ergonomic professionals, such as Butler, recommend incorporating the following techniques at work to ensure employees stay comfortable and healthy from head to toe:

   * Eyes -- Sit approximately an arm's length away from your monitor and     position the top of the monitor screen at, or slightly below, eye level.     Take mini breaks every 10 to 20 minutes to rest the eyes from the glare     of the monitor.   * Shoulders -- Keep your shoulders relaxed and in a neutral position as     you type.  Keep your elbows close to your sides as you use the keyboard     and mouse.  Take a moment every so often to roll your shoulders up and     back to alleviate tension.   * Hands and Wrists -- Keep your wrists straight and in a neutral position.     Keep the bottom of your elbows even with the keyboard height, not below.     Use minimum force while striking the keys and utilize your chair arms     for support.   * Back and Legs -- Adjust your chair so your thighs are parallel to the     floor.  Sit back in the seat so that your lower back is supported firmly     by the chair or a support cushion.  Place your feet on a footrest to     relieve "pull" on the lower back.  Make sure to get up and stretch your     back and legs every hour.    

In addition to these recommended techniques, employees should ensure they have the right office equipment incorporated into their workspace to help further release tension and stress on the body. Fellowes, Inc. recently developed a line of Professional Series Ergonomic products designed to maximize comfort and increase productivity on the job. The line offers a variety of workspace solutions, including:

   * Gliding Palm Support -- The patented Health-V(TM) Channel relieves wrist     pressure to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome as it effortlessly     glides with the natural movement of the mouse.   * Executive Adjustable Keyboard Tray -- Fully adjustable to promote     neutral hand/wrist position while moving your keyboard and mouse off the     desktop to save space.   * Laptop Workstation -- Offers an adjustable tilt for an optimal viewing     angle to reduce eye strain.   * Back Support -- A two-tiered support system that features mid-spinal     support with memory foam to promote good posture and three lower back     support sections that conform comfortably to the back's natural curves.   * Foot Rocker -- Ergonomically designed to promote comfort and increase     leg circulation while in a seated position.    

"Preventing workplace injury is about combining healthy Ergonomic habits with the right office equipment," said Tim Shipley, senior marketing manager at Fellowes, Inc. "At Fellowes, we're always looking for ways to maximize comfort and improve the overall office experience. Our new product line specifically caters to those areas of the body that are prone to injury, making it easier to stay healthy at work."

Fellowes Ergonomic products range in price from $26 to $300 and are available online at Staples.com. For more information on the principles of Ergonomics and assessing your workspace, visit http://www.fellowes.com/ergonomics.

About Fellowes

Headquartered in Itasca, Ill., Fellowes, Inc. offers an impressive range of products to equip the workspace, including paper shredders, binders and laminators, desktop accessories and record storage solutions. Fellowes, Inc. owns and operates subsidiaries in Canada, United Kingdom, Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Russia, Singapore, Japan, Korea, China and Australia. The company employs more than 2,700 people throughout the world and expects global sales in excess of $700 million this year. For more information, visit http://www.fellowes.com/.

   (1) Bureau of Labor Statistics  "Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and       Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work, 2006" November 2007   (2) Journal of American Medical Association  "Lost Productive Time and       Cost Due to Common Pain Conditions in the US Workforce," November       2003;290:2443-2454  

Fellowes, Inc.

CONTACT: Kristen Kelley, +1-312-729-4297, [email protected], forFellowes, Inc.

Web site: http://www.fellowes.com/