Workplace Ergonomics – How to Make Your Workspace Work for You
Ergonomics is “the science of designing the workplace, keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of the worker.” Poor workspace design leads to fatigued, frustrated and sometimes injured workers. This rarely leads to the most productive worker. More likely, it leads to a painful and costly injury, lower productivity and poor product quality.
A systematic ergonomics improvement process removes risk factors that lead to musculoskeletal injuries and allows for improved human performance and productivity.
By making improvements to the work process, you are removing barriers to maximum safe work performance. You are providing your workers with a job that is within their body’s capabilities and limitations. And you’ll be contributing to your company’s bottom line!
Implementing Workplace Ergonomics
- Ergonomics in the Work Area
The work area should not be too small, but large enough for you to feel comfortable and ‘perform’ your physical motions when working, such as reaching for the mouse, resting your feet on the floor or a foot stool and sufficient elbow room. If you have a printer and phone, there should be enough room for them too. It should be easy for you to access the equipment.
- Characteristics of An Ergonomic Workstation
Desks usually come at a standard height. We all have different heights and length of torsos and legs. So in an ideal ergonomic world, we’ll be able to adjust the height of our ergonomic desks to suit us. A taller person may need to have his/her work surface raised and a shorter person, lowered. Of course, ergonomic chairs with adjustable heights are more readily available.
An ergonomic workstation is best when it’s tailored to you, however this poses a problem it is shared. Hopefully, you’ll have your own workstation, if not, chair! Sitting for long periods of time is strenuous for the back. The human body is not designed to sit for long periods of time. Apart from getting an ergonomic chair, ensure you get off your chair and take breaks. Walk around the office. Get a cup of coffee, go to the washroom.
- Computer Ergonomics – monitor, mouse, keyboard
And so you’ll have your computer monitor, make sure it is centred and your torso is not twisted. There are some ergonomic theories that say the monitor should be at eye level and some say it should be slightly lower. We all agree that the laptop monitor is definitely too low for you, and it should be raised by one of those laptop elevating accessories or docking stations. This prevents eye strain, neck and shoulder fatigue. It helps develop a bad habit or jutting your head too forward.
- Your computer ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
Most computer injuries occur in the shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. And many of these occur because of the keyboard! You might want to consider getting used to an ergonomic keyboard if you do lots of typing. Ensure the mouse fits your hand. Your hand should ‘wrap’ over the mouse like a fitted blanket. Not too big or too small.
Your mouse should not be placed too far away. It should be natural for your body to access the mouse without twisting or ‘reaching’ too much, otherwise you’ll cause strain to your body.
- Ergonomic Lighting
Don’t forget about ‘lighting’. Though ergonomic lighting is not a common topic of workstations ergonomics, it affects your eyes and causes strain if it is not right. Ensure that the monitors are not too bright, you can get one of those monitor filters that reduces the glare. For reading, supplemental desk lighting is better than overhead light.
- Ergonomic Office Equipment
Here is a list of other ergonomic office equipment to consider. These ergonomics equipment helps in the practical applications of ergonomics.
- Laptop docking stations
- Mouse or other pointing devices
- Foot rests or Foot stools
- Ergonomic Keyboard Arms or Monitor Arms
- Ergonomic Keyboard trays
- Document Holders
- Chair lumbar support
Source credit: http://www.ergonomics-info.com/workstation-ergonomics.html