Ergonomic Lighting Tips for the Office and Home

By Ryan Fogel,

When you hear the term “office ergonomic,” the first things you will think about are chairs, desks and keyboards. While all of these are crucial to proper office ergonomics, ergonomic lighting is also crucial, as it is able to prevent the development of a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) that presents with symptoms such as blurred vision, neck pain, headaches, itchy eyes, insomnia among others. Furthermore, poor lighting can contribute to general discomfort, drop in productivity, an increased propensity for errors, plummeting morale and a sharp reduction in mental alertness.

Many workers do not take ergonomic lighting seriously and it’s common to see someone hunched over their keyboard in a dim lighted room or typing away under harsh, fluorescent lighting. For sensible ergonomic lighting interventions that can keep your eyes healthy and help to avoid neck pain, here are a few tips:

1. Work Under Lights Not Too High or Too Low

When office lights are too dim, this will cause employees to squint or strain their eyes to see what’s on the screen. Not only does it reduce efficiency, it can cause vision to deteriorate over time. The problems are similar with bright lights, especially as they make images on computer screens appear washed out. The ideal scenario is to have employees able to read what’s on their screen without having to strain. For a dim room, put in a little brightness with supplemental table lighting. For bright rooms, consider taking one or two bulbs out to reduce the brightness.

2. Go for a Soft Yellow Light

Lights that are yellow toned are much easier on the eyes and have a pleasing effect on mood. Although many workplaces go fluorescent because of the numerous benefits it offers, chief of which is energy savings. This issue can be addressed by using the newest generation of incandescents. While they will not be as efficient as fluorescents, they are not as detrimental to your vision.

3. Watch the Placement of Your Lighting

Regardless of the light you settle for, one area of concern you may deal with is glare, especially when it comes to computer screens. That’s why indirect lighting is the best. Never position lights to bounce off the screen. Also, try out glare filters for computer screens, and glare shields for immovable lights that shine too brightly.

4. Keep Monitors Away from Windows

Screens near windows pose a high risk of glare. What’s more, if a window is placed directly behind a screen, it can create a situation where there is too high of a contrast between the screen brightness and that of the window, making it hard for employees to see what’s on the screen. If screens cannot be placed in another position, a mitigation strategy is to use blinds and drapes, and window tinting.

5. Adjust Lighting with the Time of Day

Staring at bright screens throughout the day has the capacity to influence circadian rhythms and interrupt sleep. To prevent this, you can download an automatic screen brightening detection app to either brighten or dim screens throughout the day.

To have a Specialist examine your lighting situation and to achieve an optimal ergonomic workstation, it is important to hire a Specialist to examine your current workplace.  At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!

  Filed under: Ergonomics at Home, Ergonomics Office Design, Ergonomics Risk Management
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How Investing in Ergonomics Saves Money

By Ryan Fogel,

Businesses that seek to be successful always must manage a variety of work costs, such as supplies, labor, bookkeeping, inventory, and more. One area that is often overlooked is the cost of workplace injuries. According to a news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 alone, there were more than 2.9 million nonfatal workplace and illnesses.

Also, according to the National Safety Council, the costs of preventable injuries in 2018 among employers was over $170.8 billion. The question no becomes, how can ergonomics save businesses more money and ensure fewer costs regarding workplace injuries?

1. Improve Productivity

Workers are always carrying out tasks that create constant stress and lead to musculoskeletal disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome as well as other ailments. Workers can also experience fatigue which cause depreciating accuracy, efficiency, and productivity. These issues undoubtedly increase business costs. By making an ergonomic work environment a priority, workers will experience less injuries and in turn, cost businesses less money.

2. Reduce Work Compensation Claims

Ergonomics can help reduce the amount of worker compensation claims. Business costs often go up when workers begin dealing with work-related health issues as they make medical claims. However, with the implementation of proper ergonomic safety precautions, training, and equipment, you can easily bring down running costs.

3. Streamline Processes

Ergonomics can help save money through streamlining of the processes. Simple changes such as reducing repetitive motions, cutting down steps, and limiting exertion can result in process changes that boost workflow and save more time.

With improved processes and business operations, you can accomplish more for far less cost. In addition, there may be improvements in the quality of products and services, further boosting the value your business offers.

4. Decrease in Turnover

It is costly to interview and train new employees constantly, which disrupt business services. It is also vital that employees remain healthy and are working at their highest levels. Creating an ergonomic environment will encourage employees to continue working as they believe that the company, they work for takes care of them and prioritizes comfortable working conditions.

To make your workplace more ergonomic for your employees, it is important to hire a Specialist. At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!

  Filed under: Ergonomics Consulting, Ergonomics Risk Management, Workplace Injury Reduction
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Improving Work Posture While Sitting

By Ryan Fogel,

On average, most of us spend up to 12-13 hours daily sitting in front of the computer. What we may not be aware of is just how much our poor posture is affecting our health. There are many negative impacts of poor posture on our bodies, including: rounded shoulders, potbelly, muscle fatigue in the neck and back, headaches, and other bodily pains.

Failure to sit properly can cause these ailments to become worse and potentially have life-altering side effects, such as a permanent change to your spinal cord. Poor sitting posture doesn’t just cause a temporary strain or discomfort, but long-term negative effects.

Tips for Better Ergonomics

To prevent chronic neck and back pain and other health issues that affect productivity, it is essential to practice better ergonomics. The term ergonomics refers to tailoring sitting and work tools to fit your body and improve health conditions. Here are some helpful tips that can improve posture and reduce pain in the body.

1. Practice Neutral Posture

The neutral posture is the natural alignment position of your back when sitting. If the natural alignment of the spine is compromised due to slouching, hunching, or injury, this can lead to spinal compression, nerve pinching, and muscle tension. To achieve a neutral position sitting at your work desk or at home, do the following:

  • Position your monitor at eye level, so you don’t have to tilt the head
  • Pull your shoulders back and let your back rest flat against the chair
  • Ensure your feet are rested on the ground without the legs or ankles crossed
  • Keep your upper back straight, use a lumbar support tool if necessary. This also prevents slouching.

2. Watch for Back and Neck Pain

Watch out for symptoms such as stiffness and soreness in you back, shoulders and neck. If you observe symptoms, ensure you make daily or regular notes to track any habit or routine that may be causing or contributing to your pain. Using this information, you can begin to make the necessary adjustments to your posture to effectively prevent any stiffness or soreness in your muscles while seated.

3. Give Yourself Movement Breaks

One of the major reasons why the work desk causes back pain and chronic diseases is because it limits your movement. Research has found that taking regular movement breaks every 30 minutes helps reduce the health risks posed by sitting for extended periods of time. It is vital to make time for scheduled breaks and good posture exercises during sedentary work.

4. Use Ergonomic Supports

It can be tough to maintain a neutral posture when sitting at a desk. It is difficult to remain in alignment due to years of poor posture habits. Thankfully, excellent support products make it possible to attain a neutral seated posture and build healthy ergonomic habits.

Some of these kinds of products include adjustable ergonomic chairs with headrests and lumbar supports, footrests, and workstation components like monitor arms, keyboard trays, and ergonomic mouse. A popular option today is the “sit-stand” desk, which allows switching between sitting and standing easily.

5. Create an Ergonomic Workstation

Set up an ergonomic workstation if you want to achieve complete body wellness. A properly set up ergonomic workstation will:

  • Allow for full range of motion
  • Have items placed at the correct distance to prevent reaching
  • Provide adequate leg room and foot placement
  • Alleviate hunched posture

To achieve an optimal ergonomic workstation, it is important to hire a Specialist to examine your current workplace. At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!

  Filed under: Ergonomic Injury Prevention, Ergonomics Risk Management, Ergonomics Training, Workplace Injury Reduction
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Preventing Eye Strain While Working

By Ryan Fogel,

Computer use among office workers has increased tremendously over the last 10 years. This has resulted in increased eye-related problems among employees. While this kind of eye strain caused by computer usage may not be permanent, it can be over a prolonged period of time. Here are some tips to prevent eye strain while viewing your computer monitor:

Use an Appropriate Computer Screen

Use a large, clean screen placed on a flat surface. Your screen should have adjustable contrast and brightness options, as well as sharp images that are in clear focus displayed on the screen.

Improve Workstation Ergonomics

One of the most vital ergonomic factors that cause eye strain is the distance between the eye and the computer screen. Your workstation should be arranged to ensure that the computer screen is 18-30 inches from the eyes.

Reduce Glare and Reflection

A computer screen can reflect glare which contributes to eye strain. In conditions where there is glare, the eyes constantly adapt to the contrast between dark and light areas, which result in eye fatigue, migraines and headaches. Some easy ways to reduce glare in the office environment include:

  • Use curtains and blinds or tint windows to control the natural light coming through the windows.
  • Use darker partitions behind computer screens to reduce the contrast between foreground and background.
  • Reposition workstation or light source so that the light falls directly on the work surface.
  • Adjust general light intensity to suit the task that is being performed.
  • Use anti-glare screen filters.

 

Regulate Intensity of Lighting

Poor office lighting or lighting that is too bright increases the risk of eye problems. The best kind of brightness to work in is between 200-500 lux (measures the intensity of light). In spaces that have no other bright light source, the most appropriate lighting is around 300 lux. In an already bright environment, or with large contrasts in lighting, use brighter lights around 400 and 500 lux. Flickering lights from malfunctioning fluorescent bulbs should be replaced or maintained frequently.

Take Regular Breaks from Computer Use

To allow the eyes recover from strain, take regular breaks from staring at the computer screen to focus on distant objects. The 20/20/20 rule is recommended by clinical optometrists. This rule states 20 minutes break from computer use, looking at things 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds at a time.

Avoid Contact Lenses and Wear Glasses

Contact lenses have been found to increase the severity of symptoms of dry-eye syndrome – an eye condition that is common among office workers, with research showing that more than 40% of office workers experiencing dry eyes. The symptoms are found more in office workers who use contact lenses as the contact lenses cause friction if the eye is not well lubricated.

Employee Training

Employee training is important to provide adequate knowledge concerning eye strain or other eye problems. Some of these include taking regular breaks and performing eye exercises, as well as being able to make small adjustments to the work environment like adjusting the computer screen within appropriate distances to view properly.

To achieve an optimal ergonomic workstation, it is important to hire a Specialist to examine your current workplace.  At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!

  Filed under: Ergonomic Injury Prevention, Ergonomics Risk Management
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Make your Workspace at Home More Ergonomic

By Ryan Fogel,

With most people are telecommuting these days, it is important to consider how to make your workspace at home more ergonomic. While you may find it easy to respond to an email from the kitchen counter or write a few emails while lying in bed, working under these conditions for an extended period of time can cause you to experience aches and pains.

Consider reviewing your home setup to ensure it is ergonomically sound and to ensure overall body wellness in the future. Here are some tips to evolve your home office and preserve your physical health:

1. If you use a laptop, get a laptop riser and external keyboard

Although it can be convenient using laptops and notebooks, they are not great to use on an ongoing basis. Due to the fact that laptop screens and keyboards are attached to each other, this causes you to bend and/or twist your neck while looking down to view your keyboard. A laptop riser will allow you to put the laptop at a comfortable monitor height, and an external ergonomic keyboard will allow you to type comfortably with your arms in a neutral posture.

2. Sit with elbows and knees at a 90-degree angle

The optimal ergonomic sitting posture is as follows: sit with your spine straight, knees and elbows bent at 90-degree angles, and/or use a footrest to ensure your hips are level with your knees. A chair/desk combination that lets you fit this 90-degree configuration is vital. There are a variety of ergonomic chair options that can provide you with the right support.

3. Look straight ahead at your monitor

Your monitor should be positioned at a height that allows you to look straight, without having to bend your neck. This means elevating the monitor to the correct viewing height or using an adjustable height monitor stand if necessary. Additionally, avoid positioning your monitor at an angle where you have to turn your head to see it.

4. Switch it up

There are many dangers associated with sitting for long hours. Take microbreaks by alternating between sitting and standing for short periods of time. This prevents muscle fatigue by allowing you to move around. Another option is utilizing a sit/stand desk, which will allow you to continue working in a standing or sitting position throughout the day.

Making your home workspace ergonomic is a decision that will prove greatly beneficial to your overall physical health for many years to come.

To achieve an optimal ergonomic workstation, it is important to hire a Specialist to examine your current workplace.  At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!

  Filed under: Ergonomics Assessment, Ergonomics at Home, Ergonomics Risk Management
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The 10 Principles of Ergonomics

By Ryan Fogel,

Ergonomics is the science that deals with the design of systems that optimizes human well-being and boosts performance. There are two sub-fields of ergonomics, which are physical and cognitive. Here, we focus on the 10 design principles of physical ergonomics. These principles can be readily applied in the workplace, at home, or anywhere else.

 

Work in Neutral Postures

  • It is necessary to maintain the natural “s” curve posture of your back.
  • You can cause strain on your neck and back working long with a “c” curve.
  • It is important to keep proper alignment of neck, hands, and wrists.
  • Always keep elbows at the side.

Reduce Excessive Force

  • Using too much force or pressure at the joints can lead to injury. Ensure the floor is in good repair to ease the movement of items, like a heavy cart for instance.
  • Consider minimizing work that requires a lot of physical labor.

Keep everything within you reach

  • You can avoid unnecessary stretching and strain when you keep everything within reach.

Work at the right height

  • You won’t lean or strain your neck if you work at the right height.
  • Do most sitting work at elbow height but lower than elbow height for standing work.
  • You can adjust height by adding or removing extensions to chairs and tables.

Reduce Excess Motions

Minimize Fatigue and Static Load

  • When it comes to strenuous work, fatigue is common and maintaining proper posture is crucial
  • An example of static load involves having to hold things for long periods. Hold pen softly, use fixtures to eliminate holding on to items too long.
  • When you take breaks and intervals, you can reduce fatigue.
  • Use footrest to reposition the legs.

 

Minimize Pressure Points

  • Leaning forearms against the edge of a work table creates a pressure point.
  • When sitting on chairs with cushioning, a pressure point can be created behind the knee if the seat is too high or when your legs dangle. Also, a pressure point is formed between your thigh and the bottom of the table when you sit.
  • Consider using an anti-fatigue mat or insole.

Provide Clearance

·       There should be enough clearance in the work area for your arms and legs.

Move, Exercise and Stretch

·       Move and stretch whenever you can.

·       It is important that you take intervals between work to stretch and move around.

Maintain a Comfortable Environment

  • Maintain a work environment that promotes movement where you can sit and stand as needed.
  • Ensure that you have the proper lighting.
  • If possible, set the temperature to a comfortable setting.

 

These 10 principles often overlap depending on the situation. Yet, each principle stands on its own and encapsulates a whole body of ergonomic knowledge and practice. Together as a whole, they represent a method for knowing what to look for in finding smarter and better ways to work.

To achieve an optimal ergonomic workstation, it is important to hire a Specialist to examine your current workplace.  At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!

 

 

 

  Filed under: Ergonomics Risk Management
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4 Tips for Using A Laptop Computer

By Ryan Fogel,

The design of the laptop computer inherently violates a basic ergonomic design requirement, the keyboard and screen are integrated. In the early days of personal computing, desktop devices integrated the screen and keyboard into a single unit. This resulted in widespread complaints of musculoskeletal discomfort. By the late 1970’s a number of ergonomics design guidelines were written and all called for the separation of screen and keyboard. The reason is simple – with a fixed design, if the keyboard is in an optimal position for the user, the screen isn’t and if the screen is optimal the keyboard isn’t. Consequently, the laptop computer is excluded from current ergonomic design requirements, because none of the designs satisfy this basic need. This means that you need to pay special attention to how you use your laptop computer, because it can cause you problems.

  1. Laptop Computer User Type – the first thing to consider is: how do you use your laptop? Are you an occasional user who works on your laptop for short periods of time or a full-time user with the laptop as your main computer? Using a laptop computer is a trade-off between poor neck posture / head posture and poor hand posture / wrist posture. All users should pay some attention to how they use their laptop. But, occasional users will have fewer risks of problems than full-time users. That is why we provide tips for both part-time and full-time laptop computer users.
    • Occasional Users – because the neck position / head position is determined by the actions of large muscles, you are better off sacrificing neck posture rather than wrist posture. For occasional use:
      • Find a chair that is comfortable and in which you can sit back.
      • Position your laptop computerin your lap for the most neutral wrist posture that you can achieve.
      • Angle the laptop screen so you can see it with the least amount of neck posture deviation.
    • Full-time Users – if you use your laptop at work as your main computer you should:
      • Position the laptop computer on your desk/worksurface in front of you, so that you can see the screen without bending your neck. This may require elevating the laptop off the desk surface using a stable support surface, such as a computer monitor pedestal.
      • Use a separate keyboard and mouse. You should be able to connect a keyboard and mouse directly to the back of the laptop or to a docking station.
      • Use the keyboard on a keyboard tray to ensure a wrist neutral posture.
      • Use the mouse on an adjustable position mouse platform.
  2. Laptop Computer Dimensions – many laptops offer large screens (15″ plus) and can work as desktop replacements (giving the viewing area of a 17″ monitor). However, think about where you will use your laptop most to help you choose the best size. The larger the screen the more difficult it will be to use a laptop computer in mobile locations (e.g., airplane, car, train). There are a number of smaller notebooks and ultraportable laptops on the market. Consider issues of screen size and screen resolution. A small screen (e.g., 12.1″) will be useful in mobile settings. But, if the resolution is high (e.g., XGA – 1024 x 768), make sure that you can read the screen characters and can easily use the input device to point to areas on the screen. The smaller the laptop, the smaller the keyboard, so make sure that you can comfortably type on a keyboard that may be only 75% the size of a regular keyboard.
  3. Laptop Computer Weight – if you are a mobile professional who will be frequently transporting your laptop, think about the weight of the system. By the word ‘system’, I mean the weight of the laptop plus the required accessories (e.g., power supply, spare battery, external disk drive, zip drive, CD-RW, DVD, etc.). Many lightweight portables can become as heavy as regular laptops when the weight of all of the components is added. If your laptop and components weigh 10 lbs or more, you should consider using a carry-on bag that you can pull along. If you want a smaller bag and can comfortably carry your laptop, consider a good shoulder bag design.

Best Ergonomic Solutions for Use of a Laptop Computer

If at all possible, use a laptop docking station, because these devices let you plug in your laptop to a base station that has a monitor, keyboard and mouse already connected. The next best ergonomic solution, if a laptop docking station is either out of your budget or impractical is to have a separate keyboard and mouse at the desk. This allows you to place the laptop at the correct monitor position (to help with head posture / neck posture) and use a comfortable keyboard and mouse that you can put in the best position to prevent injuries that may result from poor wrist posture / hand posture.

Resource:
How to Ergonomically Set Up Your Laptop as a Desktop

  Filed under: Ergonomics Products, Ergonomics Risk Management
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