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
- Avoid repetitive motions.
- Change equipment layout to reduce or eliminate motions.
- Use power tools so that motion can be limited.
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.
· 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!