Monday, January 15, 2007

Ergonomics Economics

Finding ergonomic products and procedures that work for you ...

"It was also a pain in his back and shoulders until the mortgage lender consulted Jan Armitage, an ergonomist. Armitage came to Bruner's office and after making a few changes in the way he was sitting at the computer, Bruner found he was pain-free.

"I love it when I can make a small change and it makes a huge difference in someone's life," said Armitage, who recently started her own consulting business, Healthy Computing Solutions.

Ergonomics -- the science of fitting workplace conditions to the worker -- can equal good economics for companies by reducing employee injuries, lowering workers compensation costs and increasing productivity, Armitage said.

Bruner's biggest change was switching his mouse from his right to left hand. Armitage recommends "left-hand mousing" because she said computer users often stretch out their right hands to use the mouse, throwing their shoulders out of alignment with their bodies.

It takes a little getting used to, Bruner admitted. "But I'm proof you can teach an old dog new tricks," he said.

Workers who don't like using a mouse with their left hand should at least alternate between the right and left hands, Armitage said. She also suggested Bruner put his chair arms down. He had been resting his arms on the chair arms, which caused him to work with his shoulders raised.

"I had tried everything -- acupuncture and massage therapy," Bruner said. "I wasn't sleeping well; now I can sleep."

When they hear the word "ergonomics," most people think they need to buy a lot of expensive furniture and equipment, but it's not true, Armitage said. "It is the little things that matter. All of the expensive chairs in the world won't help if you are sitting in them wrong."

Not all products labeled "ergonomic" are beneficial, she said. No group or government agency regulates the use of the label "ergonomic."    (Continued via Daytona Beach News)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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