What's Your Ergonomic Quotient?
By ergonomist Sally Longyear
- Are you eyes really tired at the end of the day? If so, you may need to adjust your display or lighting and to practice eye fitness training.
- Are your neck and shoulders often stiff and sore? If so, your chair height, display or keyboard/mouse may need adjusting. Check your reach distance and phone posture.
- Do you ever feel pain or discomfort in your back while working at your computer? If so, you might need to adjust your backrest or posture.
- Do you feel tingling, numbness or pain in your forearms, wrists, or hands? If so, your chair height or keyboard/mouse may need adjusting. Also, check your sitting posture and wrist position.
- Are your legs often stiff and cramped, or do you have swelling and numbness in you rankles and feet? If so, your chair height might need adjusting or you may need a footrest.
- Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day? If so, assess your lifestyle habits for possible contributing factors: good nutrition, exercise, rest and stress reduction. Good ergonomics at home and micro-breaks at work can improve your health and comfort on and off the job.
If you answered "yes" to even one of the questions, your workstations and work habits need improvement. If you answered "no" to all of the questions on the test, congratulations! You are probably comfortable while working at your desk.
- Ergonomics: the study of the relationship between man and his working environment, with special reference to anatomical, physiological and psychological factors.
- For the worker who now performs most of their tasks using a computer, there are general guidelines to support their comfort and long-term safety. Why is this important? Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD's) are on the rise. As the name suggests, disorders arise over time;they are cumulative. common disorders found in the office environment including:
- back and neck problems
- eye stress
- carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Prevention from the onset, through evaluation the office environment and proper office design will create a healthy work environment.
- Following is a list of considerations that can be addressed when establishing a work-station or area for employees.
1. The eyes should be approximately 24 - 36 inches away from the screen, where the neck is bent within a 15 degree angle, up or down. The top of the screen should be just below the eye level.
2. The back and shoulders should be relaxed and in a natural position, with the worker sitting firmly against the back of their chair.
3. Elbows should rest comfortably on arm rests, yet closely to the sides of the body, in a 90 degree angle. Wrists should extend from the arms at this angle as well. Fingers are slightly curved upward, where the keying motion is gentle and comfortable.
4. Knees should also be at a 90 degree angle with the feet securely on the floor or a footrest.
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