ergonomics plan

Ergonomics News – Don’t Be A Turtle In Front Of Your Computer!

When you are working at your workstation/desk with your computer, you might notice that your neck and maybe your lower back are hurting.  The immediate thought is what did I do to hurt them? Flashes of your activities over the last several days run through your mind.  Did I lift wrong?  Did I sleep wrong?  Did I get too carried away in softball or racquetball?  Was it riding my bike?

If you spend more than three to four hours a day working at your computer, it could be the way you are interacting with it!  You may be a Turtle!  What is a Turtle?  It is a small animal with a hard shell.  Well that is correct but not really what I am talking about – completely.  It is likely that you are leaning forward in your chair with your head up – like a turtle.  This is a very common issue.  When you lean forward you are placing a lot of pressure on your lower back which can lead to discomfort and/or pain. When this happens people typically also hold their head up – like a Turtle.  This part of the posture can cause discomfort and/or pain in your neck.  It looks like the picture at the top of this article.

The situation is typically easily corrected.  Move your computer monitor closer to you!  This action will typically “push” you back upright against the back of your chair and straighten your neck out like the picture below. Presto!  You should soon feel the discomfort in your back and neck begin to feel better.

If you are working with a laptop you can add an external monitor plugged into the laptop or you can add an external keyboard and mouse and a laptop holder like the
Goldtouch, Nextstand or the Slimstand. You can find a number of them on Amazon.


Stages of an Ergonomics Program, Part 3 – Where is Yours?

Let’s look at a firm that:

  1. Is Beginning to Understand– Works with their Workers’ Compensation insurance company to provide some support with basic interventions to the worst situations. Likely still behind in providing meaningful support in identifying issues and equipment changes.  Will consider some furniture modification including adjusting desk heights or providing a different chair with a Doctors note.

Why is this an issue? First the employee has a problem and the company does not either believe it or does not want to deal with it so they are throwing hurdle in front of the employee.  What does this do to employee morale?  Other employees are watching very closely to see what happens to their coworker and how they are treated.

Many companies believe that if they begin to provide any new or different tools or furniture or change them that all the other employee will want something just to get something new.

I have investigated thousands of these issues.  The reality is that if the company would take steps to fully understand what is going on in this arena with their employees they would find that around 60% of them DO IN FACT NEED SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

Why is this? Why do so many problems exist with employees, their tools and their furniture! The answer lies in the diversity of people.  Specifically, their anthropometrics (Fancy word for different sizes of parts of the body).

Pick out two people of the same gender who are about the same height.  They can be the same of different weights.  When you compare various parts of their bodies there will be significant differences.  For instance, consider thigh lengths, lower leg lengths and torso lengths.  You will likely notice significant differences.

These measurements are primary for determining the proper chair sizing and ranges of adjustment. They also are necessary for establishing the proper height of their desk and monitors.  As you see the differences in more people, you will understand that very few of them will match up in these few dimensions.

Now add in the measurements for upper arm, lower arm and hand size.  The chances for people to have the same measurements is getting even smaller here.  And not throw in girth, weight and height.  There is almost no way that they will all match up. People are very much individuals in all aspects.  You now have a feel for the impossibility of trying to fit everyone in the same exact chair, desk height etc.!

2018-07-09T14:02:33-07:00Ergonomic Benefits|

Stages of an Ergonomics Program, Part 2 – Where is Yours?

Stages of an Ergonomics Program, Part 2 – Where is Yours?

Take a firm that:

  1. Has Some Idea– Respond to those who persistently ask for help with some very basic support. This may include items like a footrest or placing paper reams under a monitor to raise it.  There is no active searching for issues to identify, understand and correct. There is no trained and knowledgeable support.  Therefore 90%+ of issues go without identification or any support. Is typically taken on as an additional duty by an employee who wants to help but has no support or budget to speak of.

KEY TIP: How to quickly measure the extent of the problem in your company for no cost: Give this task an employee that others like to talk to. Have them go to 15-20 randomly selected employees.   Have them ask the employees if they have any pain, numbness or tingling in their: Neck, shoulders, upper or lower back, arms, elbows, wrists, hands fingers, tail bone, thighs, ankles or feet.  Ask them if they are ever awakened at night by any of these symptoms.

They may tell you “I hurt because I am getting older” or “I play sports” or something like that. However, even if a small part of their issues is primarily caused by outside factors, they are always aggravated by a poorly designed workplace.  The big issue to you is that these problems are always a huge negative to your productivity. And that is every hour, every day, every week and every year. You pay for any new equipment 1 time! The good news is thatmost issues can be corrected and those injuries that have been aggravated can be reduced in intensity.

2018-07-09T13:59:32-07:00Ergonomic Benefits|