What Is Ergonomics?
Ergonomic design is all about making the work environment and specific job tasks fit the worker's need for comfort, health and safety. In other words, "making the work fit the person" rather than "making the person fit the work."
Get Physically Fit
Make your workplace work for you by ensuring your chair, desk, computer, phone and lighting all fit the needs of your body's six most important areas:
- Arms, Hands and Wrist
Your comfort is also determined by how you protect each one of these areas by assuming correct ergonomic postures.
Keep Yourself Ergonomically Correct
Use this list to remind yourself to pay attention to how you're sitting. Post it near your desk where you interact with your computer and other equipment. (See related article: "Ergonomic Checklist" for tips on how to use ergonomics in these areas.)
- Line of Sight
- Neck Posture
- Arm Posture
- Back Support
- Leg Support
- Foot Position
- Viewing Distance
- Work Surface
- Mouse Position
Good Ergonomics Make Good Economics
A Healthy Workplace Keeps Working
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the most prevalent, most expensive and most preventable workplace injuries in the country. They can affect muscles, tendons, nerves, joints and the spine. They also affect productivity and profit.
More than 600,000 employees suffer lost-workday MSDs each year. The leading cause of worker's compensation claims and costs, they account for $20 billion in direct costs each year and $100 billion in indirect costs.
Since 90% of all office workers use computers, there are a lot of people who can benefit from proper ergonomics in the workplace. Good ergonomics have been demonstrated to:
- Increase productivity
- Improve worker morale
- Reduce health issues such as repetitive stress injuries, back and neck strain, eye strain, muscular pains and headaches
The Risk Factors
Everyone in the workplace owes it to him or herself to be aware of and monitor the conditions that can cause problems.
Human Risk Factors:
- Awkward posture
- Static posture
- Contact stress
Environmental Risk Factors:
- Temperature extremes
- Indoor air quality