Q: What is Ergonomics?
A: Ergonomics is the scientific study of people’s efficiency in the workplace.
A poorly designed workplace which does not consider each employees capabilities leads to increased fatigue, lack of productivity and frustrated staff. This can then lead to costly injuries and poor output.
What’s the fix?
By removing risk factors and undertaking a systematic ergonomics improvement audit you will not only reduce injuries in the workplace but also improve staff performance and productivity. By making these, often small improvements you are ensuring a safe work environment and therefore providing your staff with a job that is safe and free of injury.
Where do we start?
It’s important for staff to be comfortable at their work station. While the correct equipment and furniture is key, it’s also important that your staff understands the correct posture and positioning at their desk.
This handy graphic clearly outlines the correct posture when sitting at your desk. Notice the monitor is at arms length away, this rule should be the same for any other items on the desk, for example, phone, pens etc. Any further and the employee is forced to reach and twist unnaturally which can cause injury over time.
Keyboard, Mousepad & Mouse
Your mouse and keyboard, like all other things on your desk, should be within easy reach. It’s a great idea to use keyboard shortcuts (extra points if you can memorise them!) to limit mouse usage. A handy tip is to alternate the hand you use to operate your mouse, it may feel strange at first but we promise you’ll get used to it. Also, if you can, adjust the sensitivity of the mouse so that a light touch will activate it.
Chair & Back Support
The right chair will support your spinal curves. You will need to sit with your thighs parallel to the floor and you’ll also need to adjust the height of your chair so that your feet touch the floor, if this is not possible see below for your new best friend – the footrest! If you’re lucky enough to have armrests, make sure your arms gently rest on them and keep your shoulders relaxed. If your current chair isn’t quite doing the job in supporting your spine you can invest in a back support. There are many different back supports available, each with it’s own benefits so be sure to do some research before you make your choice.
A footrest is a perfect helper if your chair is too high or if the height of your desk means you need to raise the height of your chair.
Your desk should have enough space for your knees and thighs and should offer plenty of room for all that you need to do your job efficiently. A fantastic desk accessory to invest in is a wrist rest so that you’re not always leaning on the hard edge of your desk.
The ideal desk solution is the sit/stand desk, offering you the option to, you guessed it, sit OR stand. These desks are adjustable to suit either, and by mixing in some standing time with your sitting time you will not only improve your overall health but you will also reduce fatigue which is always a plus.
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