Ergonomics

It's Not Just About The Way We Sit

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding Ergonomics is that it is only concerned with the way we sit and use our workstations.

While workstation setup remains one of the larger fields of Ergonomics, the field is concerned with far more, especially in a workplace environment.

Consider any task performed throughout the day which involves the use or interaction with objects in the surrounding environment to complete or perform. Ergonomics is the applied science concerned with assessing this interaction in terms of efficiency, safety and appropriateness and by taking into account the functional needs of the task at hand to find the optimal solution for performing the task.

It can therefore be compared to finding the best possible fit of our bodies within our working environment and assessing the tools we use to make our jobs more efficient.

Corporate Environment

For most of us, our work day sees us sitting behind a computer at a desk. The desk, chair, computer, keyboard and most other office equipment has been designed for the average person with avgerage height and average build. The growing importance of portable computing means that more often than not we are sitting behind a notebook/ tablet computer with a trackpad and small keyboard.Office worker with bad posture working on computer.

Naturally, we try to find the most comfortable position to work in by adjusting our bodies to fit around the workstation rather than finding the best possible setting of the equipment to do that job for us. Adjusting chair and display height remains one of the simplest means of preventing back and neck pain by ensuring that the user retains a more upright posture. Adjusting the keyboard and chair distance from the desk edge further bolsteres maintaining good working posture.

Adjusting the office chair correctly so that its intended design does the work of supporting working posture is another way of minimizing the risks of back pain, headaches and repetitive strain injuries. Experience has shown us that minimizing bad habits and correctly setting up office equipment is extremely efficient at minimizing associated workstation risks, and only in some instances where these adjustments can not be made should new appropriate equipment be sourced. Other factors which may influence our workstation environment can include ambient light, temperature and the optimal use of space.

Workstation Risk Factors

Incorrect Display Height
Incorrect Mouse Placement
Working At An Angle
Incorrect Chair Setup
Incorrect Keyboard Placement
Poor Equipment
Poor Usage Habits
Poor Desk Height
Personal Clutter
X-Ray sketch of person at a workstation.

A graphical representation of workstation risk factors.

Industrial Environment

Industrial environments present with an entirely new set of factors that may need assessing due to the usually physically demanding requirements associated with the work process. Pushing, pulling, lifting and carrying all present with varying risks depending on the objects being manipulated, distances and heights involved.

In these settings ergonomics looks at the tasks being performed and then identifies any risks involved with these tasks. Ultimately solutions are found in either modifying the working environment layout or setup to better accomodate the person involved with the task, or finding equipment to employ so as to minimize any possible risks.

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Minimizing bad usage habits.

Cost effective, efficient solutions are sometimes no more complicated than found by addressing poor habits of workers.

Hornsby Spine Centre

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We offer a wide variety of evidence based treatments which are scientifically proven to be effective in treating a wide range of musculo- skeletal injuries not only restricted to the spine.

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