Work Space Ergonomics

What is the goal of Ergonomics?

    • To improve the health, safety, and efficiency of the worker and the workplace

  • To reduce risk of acquiring a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WSMD)

What are common upper extremity WSMD’s?

  • Stenosing Tenosynovitis (Trigger Finger)
    • Associated with prolonged or high repetitions in forceful gripping
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    • Associated with prolonged contact stress to volar wrist, and repetitive or prolonged positioning of wrist in flexion
      • Contact Stress: damage to the tissue of the body caused by contact between soft tissue and a hard object (ex: maintaining an awkward position such as bending wrist against key board while typing for a prolonged period)
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
    • Associated with repetitive lifting, or lifting without proper body mechanics
  • De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
    • Associated with repetitive gripping and lifting

Increased risk for developing WSMS’s includes heavier levels of material handling, poor work station design, and poor work process design.

What are common ergonomic risk factors?

  • Repetitive movement
  • Forceful or prolonged exertion of the hands
  • Frequent or heavy lifting: pushing, pulling or carrying of heavy objects
  • Awkward or static positions
  • Excessive vibration
  • Prolonged contact stress
  • Material handling with inappropriate body mechanics

Tips to Improve Ergonomics:

  • 90-90-90 Rule: while seated in your chair your ankles, knees, and hips should be flexed to 90 degrees
  • Alternate tasks throughout your day to avoid static or repetitive movements
  • Demonstrate proper body mechanics while lifting
    • Keep spine in alignment
    • Hold objects close to center of gravity
    • Avoid twisting through the spine or knees by facing the object straight on
    • Use both sides of the body equally
    • Maintain a wide base of support
    • Do not let yourself get too fatigued
    • Use smooth and controlled motions (if the load is too heavy for you to do this then find someone to assist you with carrying this item)
  • Take a break or move from your desk for 5-10 minutes every 30 minutes or incorporate non- computer tasks into your day
  • Do not cradle phone between ear and shoulder
  • Remove hands and wrists from keyboard when pausing from typing
  • Complete stretching daily (many stretches can be completed while at your desk)
  • Position commonly used items within accessible reach on your desk