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  • Office Ergonomics Office Ergonomics Train the TrainerTrain the Trainer

    Presented By:Presented By:

    Steve Steve GrimmettGrimmett Ergonomic ConsultantErgonomic Consultant

    The Evolution of Human’s?The Evolution of Human’s?


    • Introduction to Ergonomics • Form and Function of the Human

    Body • Ergonomic Issues in the Office • Ergonomic Solutions • Assessing Office Ergonomics


    • To learn what causes discomfort when working on a computer workstation

    • To learn how to correctly setup a computer workstation

    • To understand how to prevent and manage discomfort through ergonomic changes

    Defining ErgonomicsDefining Ergonomics

    • Ergonomics helps us to understand how to work safely and comfortably

    • Ergonomics helps to determine the best tools, equipment & workstations to use

    History of ErgonomicsHistory of Ergonomics • The term ergonomics is derived from

    the Greek words ergon [work]

    and nomos [natural laws]

    • In the 5th century BC, Hippocrates described how a surgeon’s workplace should be designed, and how the tools should be arranged.

  • The Science of ErgonomicsThe Science of Ergonomics

    • Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.


    • Ergonomics is concerned with the ‘fit’ between people and their technological tools and environments. It takes account of the user's capabilities and limitations in seeking to ensure that tasks, equipment, information and the environment suit each user.

    Goal of ErgonomicsGoal of Ergonomics

    • Ergonomics is employed to fulfill the two goals of health and productivity.

    • It is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy- to-use interfaces to machines.

    Computer use trendsComputer use trends

    • In 2009, 80% of Canadians 16 or older used a computer for personal reasons, up from 73% in 2007.

    • In Victoria, 86% of individuals 16 or older use a computer for personal reasons.


    • Workers Compensation Act part 4.46- 4.53 apply to ergonomics

    • Simply, the regulations require an employer to identify, assess, and control factors in the workplace that may expose workers to risk of musculoskeletal injury.

  • Form and Function of the

    Human Body

    Anatomy Anatomy -- The SpineThe Spine Anatomy Anatomy -- Spinal DiscSpinal Disc

  • Anatomy Anatomy -- ForearmForearm The Carpal TunnelThe Carpal Tunnel

    • Left wrist showing the carpal tunnel

    • A passage for finger tendons and the median nerve

    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The Eye & its MusclesThe Eye & its Muscles Neutral PostureNeutral Posture

    • The posture when the joints are not bent and the spine is aligned and not twisted

    Biomechanics of the WristBiomechanics of the Wrist Biomechanics of the ShoulderBiomechanics of the Shoulder

  • Biomechanics of the NeckBiomechanics of the Neck Biomechanics of the BackBiomechanics of the Back

    IntraIntra--discal pressure, posture discal pressure, posture and potential for injuryand potential for injury

    Increased disc compression

    Defining Musculoskeletal Defining Musculoskeletal InjuriesInjuries

    • MSI or Musculoskeletal Injury includes injury to the bone, ligament, tendon, joint’s soft tissues, muscle, veins and arteries as well as nerves

    MSI PrevalenceMSI Prevalence

    • 7% of population will be affected with a MSI at any given time

    • Using a computer 15 hrs/more per week increased the risk of MSI

    • Recent surveys show that up to 44% of office workers will experience hand, arm, shoulder and neck symptoms each year.

    MSI MSI -- Not all Injuries are Not all Injuries are caused by the workplacecaused by the workplace

    • If you tend not to be active after work - “Couch Potato Syndrome” you are at greater risk

    • Poor body mechanics with activity at home & Sports

    • Strong link between fitness and risk for MSI

  • Common Office InjuriesCommon Office Injuries

    • Tendonitis • Tenosynovitis • Muscle strain • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    How to identify injuryHow to identify injury

    • Pain / Discomfort • Redness • Swelling • Decreased strength and movement • Decreased effeciency • Increased breaks or sick days

    Low back painLow back pain • Very common: 9/10 people will have it

    at some point in our lives • Increased risk of low back pain with

    heavy lifting OR prolonged sitting/standing

    • Sitters should move around, take microbreaks, stretch, get up

    • Chairs should have good low back support

    Ergonomic Ergonomic HazardsHazards

    1. Posture

    Sitting and standing postures

    All the joints of the body

    Ergonomic Ergonomic HazardsHazards

    2. Force

    Examples • lifting a box of paper • too much force when you

    hit the keys on the keyboard

  • Ergonomic Ergonomic HazardsHazards

    3. Repetition

    • Data entry • Word processing • Mousework

    Ergonomic Ergonomic HazardsHazards

    4. Contact Stress

    Examples • wrist & forearm • back of the legs • pressure at

    laptop edge

    Ergonomic HazardsErgonomic Hazards

    5. Static Postures

    • A posture held for a long time may result in fatigue or injury over time

    Office LightingOffice Lighting

    • Inadequate lighting can cause visual discomfort and fatigue

    • Computer use requires less light than “pen and paper”

    • Too much light can make computer screens difficult to view.

    • Compromise – reduce overhead lighting, and add task lighting.


    • Glare is when light level is higher than the eye has adapted to.

    • Usually results from light reflecting off computer monitors, desk surfaces, or other shiny, polished objects.

    • Light sources that are behind or above computer monitor may cause glare

    Practical ways to reduce glarePractical ways to reduce glare

    • Position computer monitor between overhead lights, not directly underneath

    • Position computer monitor at right angle to window (ie, do not face or have back to window)

    • Decrease overhead light levels • Tilt computer monitor slightly

    downward • Use blinds on windows

  • Workstation LayoutWorkstation Layout Ergonomic SeatingErgonomic Seating

    • See handout on ergonomic task chairs

    • Review features

    Computer Workstation Setup

    Where do I start?

    Understanding anthropometryUnderstanding anthropometry

    • Human measurements such as height, arm length, thigh length

    • KEY CONCEPT: Everyone has different anthropometry

    Office Furniture DesignOffice Furniture Design

    • With few exceptions, office furniture is developed for the AVERAGE person.

    • Shortest person in the world is 29.5” tall, and the tallest person is 107.5” (almost 9 feet)

    • As a result, office furniture rarely fits a person without some modifications

    Organizing Work FlowOrganizing Work Flow

    • Understand what the core job tasks are

    • Understand how the worker completes job tasks

    • Make no assumptions – you might complete tasks in different orders.

  • Proper Workstation Set up Proper Workstation Set up –– seated workseated work

    How can these be adjusted?How can these be adjusted?

    • Desk • Keyboard • Mouse • Monitor • Chair


    • The keyboard should rest flat • Wrist should be neutral • Do not rest wrist/palm on edge • Desk or keyboard tray? • Wrist rest?


    • Same surface as keyboard

    • Avoid reaching while using

    • Wrong

    • Right Wrong


    • Consider proper working postures – NEUTRAL all joints


    • Adjust chair height to allow – Shoulders to be relaxed – Elbows bent at 90 degrees – Wrists in neutral – Hips bent at approximately 90 degrees

    • Seat should not compress backs of knees

  • ChairChair

    • Allow 2-3 fingers space between backs of knees and edge of seat

    Foot RestFoot Rest

    • Feet should rest flat on the floor • Can use an old phone book

    • Poor


    • Lower or raise depending upon chair height

    • Top of screen at eye-level • Optimal line of sight angle is ~15

    degrees • Viewing distance should be about

    arms length • Bifocal/trifocal wearers?


    • Avoid cradling phone

    • Hold phone in non-dominant hand


    Notebook and laptop Notebook and laptop ComputersComputers

    • Potential problems

    – Inappropriate placement causing neck or upper extremity fatigue

    – Display size – Smaller keys and closer spacing

    The LaptopThe Laptop

    • Consider having external mouse, keyboard, and monitor if use > 34%