Psychosocial risk is an ergonomic aggravator for the skeletal muscle system. The work shows how stress and exhaustion influence the outcome of a work. The week of March 9-15, 2020 was especially intense for me. The outbreak of cases of SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus or COVID-19) meant that during the 12th and 13th of March could not stop work activity, having started early morning with telephone calls, visits and managements until past the afternoon and beyond. Since then, the work has been intense until mid-May, affecting this situation on a psychological level.Stress has a physical effect on the tension in the muscles of the face, neck and back as a preparation for reacting to a stimulus that is dangerous and relaxes once it has passed. In the case of chronic muscles, it is constantly tense, which causes a decrease in blood flow to the muscles, thus reducing the supply of oxygen and nutrients, generating a greater accumulation of toxic waste and lactic acid. which entails a limitation of movement. Stress is involved in coordinating muscle groups while maintaining posture and balance during movement. This process involves headaches, chronic pain, contractures … so manual dexterity is also affected.

COVID-19. March 2020. Mixed media on paper.

Drawing holding 5 kg

Load handling is considered when handling a weight greater than 3 kg. According to the INSHT Technical Guide, it would be “any operation of transport or holding of a load by one or more workers, such as lifting, placing, pushing, pulling or moving, which due to its inadequate characteristics involves risks, in particularly dorsolumbar, for workers ”.

The weight that anyone should handle should be the equivalent of 10% of their weight. According to scientific studies, publications and recommendations at the level of reference entities, a person can handle 25 kg as the maximum load in ideal conditions, and up to 40 kg if trained (holding the load with both hands, in the height between hip and elbow, standing position with straight back, no turns, as close as possible to the body …), depending on the frequency and number of times it does so among other factors, as stated previously. In the case at hand and considering that my weight is 49 kg, the load held was a 5 Kg container of water in a totally unfavorable position given I did it at ground level.

Drawing holding 5 Kg

Wild flowers

An unfavorable ergonomically element is the use of inappropriate elements; such as personal protective equipment that does not fit the body dimensions in precision tasks. My size is small, I usually use S or XS sizes. In this work I used some XXL size gardening gloves to draw. Using them requires greater muscle tension to maintain control of stroke or movement, which decreases comfort and increases muscle exhaustion, forcing recovery breaks.

“Wild Flowers”. Ink drawing made with XXL size gardener gloves. 65×50 cm.

Ergonomics and Art. Introduction

The aim of this project is the integration of Health in the artistic field in the framework of healthy promotion and aging. Musculoskeletal disorders are the biggest work-related health problem in Europe and are largely caused by unfavorable habits and ignorance. The main body segments affected are upper extremity (elbow, shoulder, hand and wrist) and back (cervical, dorsal and lumbar areas). The problems are due to bad habits learned in childhood and difficult to rectify in adulthood, once integrated. For this reason, in 2009 I wrote an educational story in ergonomics that was published by the INSHT (Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene del Trabajo).

Ergonomics is the science that studies and promotes the adaptation of the environment to the individual. This is the project essence, interpreting in a plastic and visual way how unfavorable situations for the human body influence artistic practice.

Artistic expressions have been performed in situations of handling loads, repetitive movements, forced postures and even in unfavorable psychosocial situations and moments of urinary retention.

The subject is mostly abstract and mixed media has been used, with ink predominating on paper, …. The main references have been abstract plastic artists such as Antoni Tàpies and Kitty Sabatier, with their free and expressive strokes in drawing, but also the abstract textures and embossed works of Miquel Barceló. Mostly of this works are abstract but seek a compositional balance.

Ergonomics for children. Ergonomía para niños: “El hechizo de la plastilina”

(Only available in Spanish)

Hace ya tiempo, impartiendo formación en ergonomía, numerosos asistentes solicitaban información sobre esta temática para mitigar dolencias de la espalda de sus hijos. Es por ello, que empecé a escribir un breve relato para que los más pequeños, entendieran el porqué sobre la importancia de hábitos posturales y algunas recomendaciones al respecto.

¡Os invito a leer el cuento! Lo podéis encontrar en el siguiente enlace: El hechizo de la plastilina