The best way to support the forearms during typing

By gildalit

"ergonomic"

ergonomic consultation

Have you suffered pains in the shoulder girdle and the lower back while working on a computer? Chances are that these pains are due to a lack of support for your forearms during typing.

Ergonomics experts differ in regard to this issue and their approaches fall into several categories.

The purpose of this post is to present the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches in an objective way, and let each one of you decide which approach is most suitable for him or her.

1. Floating – the “pianist” approach – The palms float over the keyboard: This approach argues that there’s no need to support the forearms, as the shoulders should be relaxed and simulate piano playing. The keyboard is located in the front part of the table and the mouse is in line with the keyboard.

Advantages – There’s no need to put the forearms on the chair’s armrests, on the table or on a padded surface. The relaxation is a product of gravitation and it enables the joints to be free of load.

Disadvantages – A) The keyboard has to be situated in a very low location, otherwise the shoulders cannot relax. B) The relaxed shoulders posture requires very high awareness. C) A low keyboard creates a disturbance to the legs.

2. Using the table to support the forearms – This approach recommends putting the forearms on the table, while locating the keyboard on the back part of the table and the mouse in line with the keyboard.

Advantages – A) When the user puts his or her forearms on a wide surface, his or her shoulders girdles are fully supported and a neutral posture of the palms becomes natural. B) Users can adjust themselves to this method simply and easily. C) The method is particularly suitable for corner tables and / or tables with an ergonomic niche.

Disadvantages – A) Laying the forearms on narrow tables (less than 60cm in depth) is impossible. B) A sharp table rim might strongly disturb the ability to properly lay the forearms on the table. C) In straight tables, laying the forearms forces the user to extend the forearms further, an extension which creates a certain load on the shoulders girdles. D. In order to lay the forearms on the table, the user must sit in the right height, to ensure the shoulders are relaxed. The user will also have to move with the chair closer to the table, which sometimes results in the armrests bumping into the table. E. Laying the forearms on a hard surface generates a feeling of discomfort and sometime results in an inflammation in the elbow area.

3. Supporting the forearms on the chair’s armrests – In this method, the forearms are laid over the chair’s armrests, the keyboard is located near the table rim and the mouse is in line with the keyboard.

Advantages – A) Correct anatomical posture of the shoulders. B) The method is suitable for straight tables with narrow depth.

Disadvantages – A) In case the chair’s armrests are not suitable to the width of the shoulders, it is impossible to implement this method during typing. B) In case the armrests are narrow, not adjustable and not padded, this method cannot be implemented.

4. Laying the forearms on a padded surface which connects to the table – In this method, the forearms are laid on a padded surface with an ergonomic niche which is located on the table. The keyboard is located in the front part of the table and the mouse is in line with the keyboard.

Advantages – A) Laying the forearms on a padded surface is pleasant and neutralizes pressure points. B) The round shape of the surface leads to a relaxed and optimal posture of the shoulders. C) The padded surface creates a unified and correct sitting standard. D) The size of the surface enables every user to find the typing position which is most suitable for his or her body and shoulders width. E) There is no need to move with the chair under the table, and have the armrests bump into the table. F) This method is very suitable for people with a big belly or pregnant women. G) The method is very suitable for typing tasks. H) Very suitable for narrow tables. I) The method enables users to upgrade non-ergonomic environments. J) The board can be delivered from one table to another in an easy way.

Disadvantages – A) The method forces the user to sit in a high position in order to create a relaxed shoulders posture (which sometimes requires the use of a foot rest). B) The surface on the table might disturb PC users who use folders and paper documents on a frequent basis.

To summarize:

Deciding on the desired approach depends on the work surface, the type of work, the type of the ergonomic accessories in the work environment and the computer user’s physical characteristics.

Nevertheless, every approach requires a correct choice in each one of the following aspects: the location of the keyboard and the mouse, the height of the sitting position, the selection of the ergonomic accessories for the workstation and the guidance of an ergonomic consultant.

In practice, work places do not allow computer users to decide on the suitable approach, due to two main reasons: A) Lack of ergonomic awareness and guidance. B) Standard equipment which has been selected in a random way, without any ergonomic planning.

My hope is that at least home PC users will know how to implement the right choice and that decision makers in organizations will consult an ergonomic advisor when they plan the work environment.

Combining ergonomic planning with the right guidance and equipment will not only save the organization unnecessary expenses on unsuitable equipment. The organization will eventually benefit from a satisfied worker, who is more productive and is less susceptible to orthopedic injuries.

An organization which will be prudent enough to integrate ergonomic aspects into its considerations will sharply reduce instances of workers’ absence as a result of orthopedic injuries, such as lower back pains, neck sprains, and inflammations in the palms. The overall economic calculation will drive the organization to understand the very short time frame in which the initial cost of ergonomics returns itself and the fact that in the long run, ergonomics saves significant amount of money for the organization and strengthens its image in the eyes of employees and customers alike.

Ergonomic Tips You won’t Find in Any Ergonomics Book

By gildalit

"ergonomic tips"

The ergocloud

Brief introduction:

The following ergonomic tips list is the result of extensive fieldwork conducted with thousands of computer users. Following these tips carefully can help prevent severe orthopedic problems and provide an immediate relief from existing pains.

1. When sitting in front of a computer screen, the most important thing (and one unknown by most) is providing support for the forearms while typing and using a mouse. Sadly, most computer users tend to type with their arms hanging in the air without support. This creates a massive load on the shoulder belt and lower back.

2. The solution? Supporting your forearms by resting them on the armrests or on the desk, or using a padded forearms support device attached to the table.

3. How to position the forearms should be decided in accordance with existing equipment. If the chair arms are uncomfortable to use, not adjustable and padded, do not use them. If your desk is narrow and doesn’t allow you to place your entire forearms comfortably, do not place them on the desk. In such cases, the best solution is putting the forearms on a wide padded surface that connects to the desk.

4. Correct sitting height is critical. Make sure your shoulder belt is relaxed when resting your forearms. Sitting at the wrong height causes you to lift or bend your shoulders and puts a significant burden on the shoulder belt.

5. Be sure to work with the screen directly in front of you, a screen located sideways might quickly cause a cervical disc herniation.

6. A computer screen positioned too high might cause severe neck problems. Make sure the upper frame of the screen is at eye level.

7. Free leg space to allow for comfortable sitting – relocate any accessories (such as computer box, wastebasket, bags) located where your legs are supposed to be.

8. Using a keyboard drawer is not recommended. Keyboard drawers get in the way of your legs and afford no support for your forearms.

9. Be sure not to place any accessory where it can interfere with the mouse movement. Moving the mouse should be a large scope movement, performed from the shoulder joint, and not a small wrist movement.

10. Check your vision often. Impaired vision causes neck distortions and might build enormous pressures on the neck as a compensation for the inability to see well.

11. It’s recommended to place the phone on the opposite side of the typing and mouse moving hand.

12. It is recommended to maintain a sitting posture that is as dynamic and symmetrical as possible, i.e. without a back rest, crossing legs once on the left and once on the right, sitting on a fitness ball or a knees stool.

13. Make sure the computer screen, keyboard and mouse’s cables are long enough and as loose as possible, so you can position them according to your need. Many computer users arrange their work station in accordance with existing constraints, without even trying to correct the problem.

14. Choose a desk with a lot of leg space, and as little leg interference or lower storage as possible. Your desk should allow for a comfortable sitting posture and the possibility of performing stretching exercises while working.

categoriaergonomics commento4 Comments dataJanuary 20th, 2010
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Computer Pains – and their Solutions

By gildalit

Computer Pains

bad ergonomics

Migraines, shoulder pains, herniated discs, eye strain… these are just some of the symptoms of what can easily be considered as the Millennium’s syndrome – “Computer pains”.
Suffer some of those? No need to rush to the medicine cabinet, make an appointment with the family doctor or see your physical therapist!

Sometimes even minor adjustments to your workstation can do wonders – eradicate your pain and save you money.

So here’s the Complete Guide to Ergonomics!

Elevated computer screen – sitting for hours in front of an elevated computer screen puts a lot of strain on the neck vertebrae – an effort that causes ongoing pain. The neck is a sensitive area and neck pain can radiate to other body parts such as shoulders, elbows, hands and wrists. Lessening the pressure on neck muscles may also resolve apparently unconnected body aches.

ergonomic Solution

good ergonomics

Solution: The computer screen should be placed at eye level and lower to allow the neck vertebrae to be in neutral posture and rest.

Lateral posture – At many companies I see computer screens located not straight in front of the user but sideways, often due to the need to communicate with clients face to face, or in order to make room on the crowded desk. Working in a lateral posture for long periods of time, sometimes for many hours, puts an enormous amount of strain and pressure on the neck vertebrae. This can cause headaches, migraines and pain in other parts of the body. Angled screens and lateral postures put a constant load of strain on the spine and cause the body to be organized unnaturally with every part turned in a different direction.

Solution: The best solution for such a situation is placing the computer screen directly in front of the user whenever possible, moving it aside when the user has to serve clients. This can be achieved by using a multi-directional arm that allows for shifting the screen easily from one position to the other when necessary.

Screen distance – too close or too far – a small work area, sight problems, or a smallish desk may result in a computer screen placed too close to the user, causing eye damage and headaches.
On the other hand, placing the screen too far away strains the eyes and causes fatigue, irritability and disquiet.

Solution: the computer screen should be positioned at a distance of 3 times the screen diagonal, or more simply, sitting at a straight-arm distance from the center of the screen.

Prolonged Sitting - By itself, prolonged sitting can cause physical degeneration as well as a variety of back, shoulders and neck problems. Sitting for long stretches of time without movement compresses the vertebrae, which in turn exert pressure on the nerves. The muscles surrounding the vertebrae suffer from degeneration and blood flow is also impaired.

Solution: It is recommended to change posture occasionally, stand up and stretch out at least once every half an hour, and incorporate into your working hours some sort of physical activity that is compatible with working in front of a computer. The most recommended exercises are strengthening the abdomen and back muscles and performing back rotations.

The Correct Sitting Posture Myth – there is a myth that you should sit with your upper body straight up at 90 degrees toward the feet. This is a serious mistake. Actually it’s much better to sit with a 100 to 110 degrees angle – some sort of leaning back or reclining. The reason for that is that when you sit at 90 degrees, your entire upper body weight is exerted directly on your lower back vertebrae. Reclining at 100 to 110 degrees decreases significantly the pressure on the vertebrae.

Solution: recline!

And the best solution of all:

Physical awareness – the most effective tool in preventing ergonomic damages is the development of physical awareness. Developing such an awareness under professional guidance can help purchasing cost effective equipment suited to users’ needs, and may improve the worker’s productivity , prevent health issues, increase the number of productive working hours and promote the correct usage of existing human engineering.

categoriaergonomics setting commento6 Comments dataDecember 22nd, 2009
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The Ergonomic Chair

By gildalit

Ergonomic Chair

ergocloud ergonomics

In many ergonomic consultations, the very first sentence I hear from employees is: “my chair is so uncomfortable! Could it be replaced?” Or – “I’m used to sitting this way and I don’t have any pains”.

Do these sentences reflect a real problem, or are they uttered as a result of thought patterns we have grown accustomed to?

Usually I find that most complaints reflect a lack of basic knowledge of how to adjust the seat properly, how high or how far away from the table to sit and where to place the hands. In my experience, most employees use the chair just as it was when they received it, with no attempt to change the backrest angle or height, the seat depth, or even the seat height.

Quite often I come across tall people sitting on a chair that fits shorter people and vice versa.

Ergonomic engineers invest a lot of time, thought and effort in designing a chair with a variety of adjustment options that will be easy to operate. Unluckily, in reality many people are simply too afraid to try and manipulate the chair, and even if they do make adjustments, they do not always perform them properly.

I have often wondered about the reason for that. Don’t people listen to what their own bodies tell them? What type and level of pain will cause them to take action? Is it the workplace pressure to fulfill the task at hand that does not allow people to devote a minute of their time to the chair they sit on? Are people deterred by their fear of what they perceive as a challenging technical feat? Are they afraid that even if they do adjust their chair it will make no difference? Could it perhaps be that this lack of attention is only the outcome of a lack of awareness?

What is an ergonomic chair?

Before you purchase a chair touted to be ergonomic, it is worthwhile to map your real needs and make sure this is the right chair for you.

These are the parameters you should take into account:

a.         The size of the chair VS the size of the user (remember, ergonomic means adjusted for the user!);

b.         Chair height VS desk height. The right proportion should allow for a correct sitting posture that does not put a load on the shoulders.

c.         The number of people that will be using the chair. For multiple users, it is recommended to purchase a chair with a variety of adjusting options, in order to allow for optimal fitting to each user.

d.         The chair’s seat should be covered with a comfortable, non slip, absorbing fabric that prevents slipping or sweating. The chair should be equipped with an additional mechanism for adjusting the seat’s depth.

e.         The backrest must have a mechanism that allows for adjusting it at different angles (nowadays, the recommended angle between the seat and back rest is 110 degrees).
In addition, it’s recommended to make sure that the chair backrest’s height can also be adjusted, to allow for maximum support of the lower back at the concave depression (back lordosis).

f.          The armrests must be adjustable for height, width, sliding back and forth as well as shifting inside. If your desk is ergonomic, you do not use the armrests but place your forearms on the desk (the armrests are just that – there to be used mainly when you’re resting).

g.         The chair’s height – should be adjusted both to the user’s height and to the desk, so you will feel that when you’re placing your forearms on the ergonomic desk, your shoulders and neck can be relaxed.
Therefore, it is important to choose a chair that includes a simple mechanism allowing for easy lifting and lowering of the chair.

h.         Synchronizing mechanism – keeps the sitting posture optimal while changing the load on the back vertebrae.

i.          Rocking mode – keeps the back in motion and alleviates the pressure exerted on the vertebrae by prolonged sitting. It is recommended to occasionally take a break at work and give the back some rest through a rocking movement.

categoriaergonomics sitting commento5 Comments dataDecember 21st, 2009
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Ergonomics – A Child’s play?

By gildalit

ergonomics for children

kids ergonomics

More and more studies reveal an increase in the number of children and teenagers suffering from a stiff neck as well as shoulder, wrist and lower back pains.

Kids today spend long hours in front of computers. If they’re not typing school homework, they are playing, reading, surfing or chatting with other kids sitting somewhere in front of another computer (sometimes in the same house or even in the same room!). Our world is swamped by computer culture, and our children swim in it quite comfortably.

We as parents, encourage them to develop their computer literacy and skills, being extremely aware of the world’s current state of affairs, which makes it imperative for its young citizens to master and be comfortable in computerized environments. But we have another basic and unavoidable duty towards our children: their health.

Long computer sessions entail physical and mental health risks, which can be easily avoided using ergonomics.

Working with a computer can cause a phenomenon called RSI – Repetitive Strain Injuries.

Those start as a slight inconvenience but can later develop into a chronic problem.

Here are some data, according to studies published lately on ergonomics for children:  If you’re a parent, you should read this!

  1. Children aged 6-17 spend an average of 10 hours a day (!!!) sitting in front of a television or computer screen, sitting at school or engaged in other sedentary activities.
  2. Orthopedics report an increase in skeletal muscle complaints among school children as a result of prolonged sitting sessions in front of computer stations that are not adjusted to their specific needs.
  3. Kids today might suffer from neck pains resulting from incorrect height and distance of screens positioning.
  4. Damage to tendons and ligaments as a result of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injuries), is increasing constantly due to the usage of unsuitable mice and keyboards.
  5. Back pain, scoliosis and problems with the blood flow to the legs have become more and more common among children, as a result of inadequate sitting postures and usage of chairs unadjusted to their size.
  6. Children and parents alike are largely unaware of the dangers inherent in computerized environments!

In the modern technological world of today, more and more children must and do choose a working in front of a computer. These computerized environments will accompany our children throughout their lifetime, and it doesn’t seem they are going to disappear any time soon. On the contrary, computer culture is growing and developing fast, conquering more and more areas of our lives. Therefore, we as parents must make sure that our children learn and be computer literate. But simultaneously, we must also give them the ergonomic guidance and tools that will improve their quality of life, health and welfare.
Despite data showing a direct relation between orthopedic injuries and computer usage among children, very little attention is devoted to maintaining ergonomic principles at the computer work station at home.

Parents, this is your responsibility!

categoriaergonomics for childrens commento6 Comments dataDecember 21st, 2009
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Laptops and Notebooks and bears, oh my! The laptop – a Real Health Hazard

By gildalit

ergonomic laptop

ergonomic & laptop

Studies show that prolonged use of a laptop can cause serious orthopedic problems at the shoulders and neck, pain and inflammation of the wrists and back, as well as increasing the risk of testicular cancer and fertility problems (when the computer is placed on the knees – a very common habit).

But wait! Before you dump your laptop into the trash, here are some Do’s and Don’t rules that will enable you to use your laptop and remain healthy.

Updated global data show that about a third of all computer users have a laptop. Laptops may look friendly and inviting, but in fact they have become a first-rate ergonomic hazard. Dalit Ben-Tovim, an ergonomic consultant and trainer, who specializes in creating and adapting working environments for better health and safety, offers a variety of tips for using your laptop safely.

Why is the laptop so damaging?

Structure – The laptop’s structure does not allow for a separate adjustment of the keyboard and screen. As a result, if the screen is adjusted to the desired height – and the recommendation is for the upper limit of the screen to be at eye level – we will find ourselves with the keyboard at a position that is destructive for the hands and wrists. On the other hand, placing the laptop for convenient typing will create strain and damage the eyes and the neck muscles.

Mouse – the integrated mouse or touchpad is another ergonomic nightmare we should be aware of. The posture required when working with a touchpad creates a constant, incremental tension on the hand tendons and in the shoulder, with devastating results.

Posture – prolonged usage of a laptop, coupled with an incorrect sitting posture, with no support of complementary ergonomic accessories, could lead to serious orthopedic problems in the neck and shoulder belt, pain and inflammation of the wrists and back aches. In addition to all the problems mentioned, the infamous warming of the laptops has already been proven to increase the risk of testicular cancer and fertility problems.

Not all is negative. It is possible and even recommended to use a laptop safely, if you adopt the correct habits that will prevent damages.

Tips for casual/infrequent users:
Those who do not use a laptop as a main working tool, but occasionally find themselves using a laptop, would do well to adopt a few rules:

  • Try to find a comfortable chair, one that enables you to lean back comfortably. Remember that the head and the neck are supported by large muscles. You need to protect the hand muscles, which are more sensitive. Place the laptop on your legs, with the hands in a relaxed posture, neither bent nor stretched.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Tilt and adjust the screen to allow for a minimal neck tilt.
  • Use a laptop ventilation tray to prevent heating.
  • Carry as few additional peripherals as possible, keeping the laptop’s weight minimal.
  • Use a backpack with wide shoulder straps to carry the laptop.

Tips for heavy users:

  • Place your laptop on the table so that its upper edge is at your eye level. There are several laptop stands designed specifically for this purpose, try to add a forearm support board.
  • Use an external keyboard and position it directly in front of you, at a convenient height allowing your hands to rest at a neutral posture – neither bent nor stretched.
  • Connect an external mouse and place it at your side at a height that keeps your hand relaxed and at a neutral posture.
  • The keyboard and the mouse can be connected directly to the laptop or through a docking station.
  • Place the screen at a straight arm length away from you. Nevertheless, you should take into consideration the screen size, in order to allow for effortless reading.
  • Minimize any sources of reflected screen glare.

Tips for all users

Besides the mobility and convenience, using laptops carries many health hazards which users are not aware of. We have divided our recommendations into different types of users, but our most important recommendation is: Listen to your body! Pain is a sure sign that you should stop your work to stretch, change your posture, relax and rest your eyes and hands.

Integrate physical activity in your life. An hour of aerobic exercise once a day will work wonders for your painful back and stiff neck.

Can an investment in ergonomics save money for the organization/ prove to be cost effective?

By gildalit

ergonomic accessories

Gil Ben Tovim ergonomic consultant

Many organizations hesitate to embark into what they see as the stormy waters of ergonomics, fearing that they will face purchasing costly ergonomic accessories, or that employees will start demanding special chairs, keyboards, mice, desks and so on.

Is their fear justified? By all means no!

As an ergonomic consultant to numerous organizations, I am often called to examine and give advice for existing workstations, only to find faulty ergonomic planning. Surprisingly, it is the actually at work stations boasting special design and laden with expensive accessories where we find problems.

For example: an expensive executive chair that does not fit its user, or is badly proportioned to the desk, or a desk that doesn’t allow for resting your legs comfortably, or a desk that is too large for the room’s dimensions or a large size ergonomic keyboard that does no fit the user.

My job as an ergonomic consultant is to provide the functional solution, meaning that as far as I’m concerned, a wide desk with appropriate leg room will provide a better solution than an expensive, designer table that does not allow for a comfortable sitting posture. Likewise, a chair that fits both the desk and the user’s body proportions will be a much better solution than a fancy, expensive executive chair that is out of proportion with the user’s body or the desk.

Equipment that is suitable and adjusted to the employee will certainly prevent discomfort or bodily injuries in the future.

In many companies that use my ergonomic consulting services we actually witnessed a decrease in demands for a chair replacement, because when you provide the employee with the proper guidance on how to adjust his or her chair and organize the workstation in a proper ergonomic way, work comfort and usage experience are enhanced.

True, sometimes there’s a need to replace some of the equipment, but at least the new equipment is directed to where it’s really needed, the acquisition is budgeted and prioritized and is nor a half baked random purchase that  eventually might be discovered to be unnecessary.

In many companies I have come across foot rests thrown in the room, unused keyboard gel pads, superfluous monitor stands, etc.

As you see, solid ergonomic advice not only saves you money and renders good ROI in the long term! It can reimburse the expense almost immediately.

categoriaergonomics commentoNo Comments dataDecember 21st, 2009
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Are employers thinking on the employee’s best interest?

By gildalit

ergonomics

ergonomic consultation

When have you last heard of employees going on a strike or mobilizing workers unions solely to protest against the ergonomic conditions of their employment?

That’s a pretty rare situation, to say the least.

Well. If there are no strikes and no sanctions, does it follow that the ergonomic working conditions are all excellent? I don’t think so.

We’ve have all seen some horrific working environments, with narrow and wobbly desks, old and broken chairs, bad lighting, crowded spaces etc.

And just to be clear, those are modern urban offices I am talking about, not sweatshops or third worlds factories in remote locations.

I’m sure we’ve all heard by now of employees, who spend most of their working hours in front of a computer, complaining about discomfort, wrist pains and disk hernias.

This is a well known, quite widespread phenomenon, and yet employers are not rushing to search for the aid of the nearest ergonomic consultant. When offering my services to employers, I’m often confronted with the reaction: No thanks, we’re very concerned and proactive regarding our workers health and comfort, see? We’ve just purchased gel pads for their keyboards and mice.

Does this reaction teach us anything? Yes.  Clearly, it shows that employers tend to ease their consciences or mollify their employees’ complaints with a simple ergonomic toy. Does this toy solve the employee’s problem? Probably not, but it does buy the employer some additional quiet time.

Would having the employees listen to a lecture on ergonomics once every couple of years help them? Perhaps it would help them a bit, but it would sure help the employer much more.

Good ergonomic consulting starts with a functional ergonomic mapping of the organization, getting an exact understanding of employee’s needs followed by personal planning and guidance for each employee at his personal workstation, including fitting the proper ergonomic equipment.

Are there any employers who have embraced this concept? Yes, of course, but they are still a minority. Most employers are still in the stage of putting out fires, only trying to solve specific personal problems when an employee complains loudly enough.

When employers do invest seriously in ergonomics, is it because the employee’s interest is of paramount importance for them?

Every business’s primary goal is to make profits. Organizations that realize how ergonomics assistance would greatly improve their employees’ performance, actually understand that in the long run, they gain happy, contributing employees with better performance levels, who take fewer sick leave days.

Correct ergonomic thought should take into consideration that an investment in ergonomics will not only repay itself but bring the company monetary gain as well.

Don’t think of ergonomics as being a manner of coddling the employee, or being just a part of HR welfare. Think of it as a method that enables the employer to increase company’s profit.

When employers will understand that there’s money to be made, they will invest in ergonomics. That’s a no brainer.

categoriaROI on ergonomic planes commento3 Comments dataDecember 21st, 2009
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Promoting Ergonomics in the Work Place – What are the Obstacles and Can it be Done?

By gildalit

ergonomics sitting

non ergonomic sitting

As an independent ergonomic counselor offering my services to high tech companies, I often wonder – who would be the right person to meet at the organization in order to create a serious and effective ergonomic program?

My experience tells me that in each organization, the correct answer will be different.

The crucial person or function to approach could be located at: Human Resources, Staff Welfare, Operations or Acquisition management, R&D Department, or it could be any of the organization’s vice presidents: Safety, IT, Administration, or any departmental Manager.

One of the main obstacles in promoting ergonomics in organizations is that the employees themselves may lack ergonomic awareness. They do not put any pressure on the organization or ask emphatically enough for ergonomic consulting services. After all, not all employees are aware of the causal connection between working environment and bodily pains.

It’s not always easy to make the connection between work and pain. The discomfort and pains suffered by computer users usually develop gradually and do not force the users to stop working immediately. The discomfort turns into chronic pain that the employees learn to live with, suffering quietly and hoping for the best.

Even when employees are well aware of the situation, some of them might hesitate to complain of discomfort and pains they feel at their daily work out of fear of being fired, or being regarded by the organization as trouble makers.

Employers sometimes take advantage of this ignorance or fear, and do nothing to raise awareness. After all, why create problems where you have industrial peace? So they sort of “let sleeping dogs lay”. The situation is the worst in organizations where employees’ turnover is high and the employer has no incentive to improve working conditions.

But ending on a positive note – we see more and more organizations that are open minded towards ergonomics, being well aware of its importance. Those organizations do not hesitate to invest substantial amounts in order to create the right working environment.

As I’ve noted in previous posts, organizations are not promoting ergonomics solely for the employee’s interest. They understand that in the long run, investment in ergonomics has a very high ROI.

For one good example I can give the Israeli Low department that after a long period of consultation, trial period and ROI calculation bought for all its clerics an innovative forearm support board the ergocloud.

Choosing an ergonomic mouse

By gildalit

ergonomic mouse

ergonomic mouse

extention

ergonomics mouse

What turns a computer mouse into an “ergonomic” accessory?

What are the criteria for an ergonomic mouse?

When purchasing a new mouse, how can we be certain that the mouse touted to be ergonomic does indeed comply with ergonomic criteria?

Does any mice manufacturer have the right to attach the word “ergonomic” to their products?

And is an ergonomic mouse really better than a regular mouse? That is, would an ergonomic mouse helps in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome and inflammations of the wrist?

And last but not least, given the huge assortment of ergonomic mouse devices on the market, how do we know which would be the best and the most appropriate for us?

In order to solve some of these questions, we would first need to determine what exactly is an ergonomic mouse, and what functions are not included in the ergonomic definition.

You might be surprised to know, but the design process of any product involves certain ergonomic considerations.

That being so, basically any product can be called “ergonomic”.

Confused? So am I, but the answer is simple – ergonomic means “suited to the user”. That’s right – Suited to You. That’s the greatest secret of ergonomics.

For example: a small handed girl working with an ergonomic mouse significantly big for her hand or a large man working with a smallish ergonomic mouse will feel very uncomfortable, even though they’re using a mouse that supposedly is ergonomic. An accountant using an extremely narrow or cluttered desk, who chooses to use a large mouse that can hardly be moved on such a desk, will also feel discomfort.

The obvious conclusion is: the mouse should be chosen first and foremost according to body size, work needs and desk format.

Having chosen the ergonomic mouse that fits us we have to ask – would that mouse itself prevent wrist pain?

The answer depends on how we sit and the posture of our hand on the desk.

For example: if we sit too low in respect to our desk, we will not be able to place our hand correctly on the desk, and no ergonomic mouse can or will help us. Or if due to the table structure or the multitude of devices placed on the desk (laptop, telephone, folders… you name it) there is not enough free space to place our wrist, we will not be able to achieve the correct hand posture to benefit from the ergonomic mouse.

posture

ergonomic posture

So, we understood that we need to choose a mouse that is appropriate to our structure and needs, and have arranged our sitting position and desk to enable us to create the right arm and hand position. The question still remains: Should we buy a mouse defined as ergonomic or can we be satisfied with a simple mouse?

The answer is not that simple. Our best advice would be to try out several mouse devices for a period of time, to feel if there’s any change. I believe some of the ergonomic mouse devices sold today have a structure that definitely lessens the pressure on the hand. Those are worth trying first.

categoriaergonomics mouse commento11 Comments dataDecember 13th, 2009
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