Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ergonomic correctness

Recognizing ergonomic injuries and setting-up an office ...

"In the past couple of weeks, I’ve worked with several clients who are dealing with physical issues from repetitive motion at work.

No matter where you work, what you do for a living or what your daily tasks are, doing the same thing day in day out, in the same manner for hours on end can deteriorate the human body. People tend not to notice until it is too late. If you add up how many calls you made, how many e-mails you returned, and how many hours you looked at your monitor each day, you’d be astonished. When you can no longer do the work that you were hired to do and start to experience numbness, loss of motion, soreness and pain, you must take action and change your work environment.

Ergonomics, the study of movement between the “operator” and the workspace, not only examines what causes repetitive motion injuries, but also takes into consideration the entire office — from space planning to lighting. A proactive, preventive medicine, ergonomic improvement will protect your well being and increase your productivity.

When assessing your office work area, recognize the symptoms that relate to repetitive motion. Since the physical dimensions of each person differ, scrutinize your distance to objects like the computer, telephone or document holders. Things that you use everyday for an extended period of time must be monitored. Forceful exertions that are done continually throughout the day, static postures, or inadequate lighting can all lead to job discomfort.

The most critical piece of furniture in your office is your chair. Here, your body should be relaxed and as loose as possible. Height flexibility, adjustable armrests, lumbar support, backrest height and the tilting of the seat should fit you perfectly. You may want to keep in mind that the chair should give you support — your body shouldn’t be doing all the work. A footrest may be needed, but only when the back needs more support.

The second most critical piece in your office is your computer. The computer tray should be adjustable, have wrist support and be at elbow level — not too high and not too low. The mouse should have a wrist rest and not be too far away from your reach. The top of the screen should be directly in front of you, at eye level 18-24 inches away from you."    (Continued via Napa Valley Register)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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