What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with design according to human needs. It is also the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. Ergonomics looks at what kind of work you do, what equipment you use and your entire job environment. The goal of ergonomics is to find the best fit between you and your job conditions.
How To Create The Ideal Ergonomic Workstation
A thorough ergonomics assessment will help create the ideal ergonomic workstation by addressing the following topics:
- Computer use
- Type of computer used
- Chair used
- A good workstation ergonomic arrangement
Setting up an ergonomic computer workstation
If an ergonomic computer workstation is going to be used by several people, you will need to create an arrangement that most closely satisfies the needs of the extremes. It will have to accommodate the smallest and tallest, thinnest and broadest.
Make sure that the computer is placed on a stable working surface with adequate room for proper arrangement.
It's important to choose a comfortable chair for the user to sit in. If only one person is using the chair it can be at a fixed height provided that it is comfortable and has a good backrest that provides lumbar support. If more than one person will be using the computer, consider buying and a chair with several ergonomic features.
A good workstation design will allow any computer user to work in a neutral, relaxed, ideal typing posture that will minimize the risk of developing any injury. A thorough ergonomics assessment will evaluate these and other potential risk factors for workplace injury.
What is a good workstation setup?
A good workstation setup may include:
- Ergonomic keyboards and mouse
- Wrist rests
- Support braces/gloves - If you're considering an “ergonomic product" ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it feel comfortable for a long period?
- Does the product design and the manufacturer's claims make sense?
- What research evidence can the manufacturer provide to support their claims?
- What do ergonomics experts say about the product?
Some ergonomic products may feel strange or slightly uncomfortable at first because they often produce a change in your posture that's beneficial in the long-term. Stop using the product if it continues to feel uncomfortable after a reasonable trail period of at least a week.
Other considerations are the following environmental conditions where the computer will be used:
- Noise Take a break!
No matter how great your ergonomics workstation is, it's important to take frequent, brief rest breaks. Make sure to practice the following to help avoid strain and injury:
- Eye breaks every 15 minutes.
- Micro-breaks from the use of a particular set of muscles that's doing much of the work (e. g. the finger flexors if you're doing a lot of typing).
- Rest breaks every 30 to 60 minutes.
- Exercise breaks every 1-2 hours.
Sharon Stage is Marketing Manager for Ergonomics OHS. Ergonomics OHS provide office ergonomics training specialising in computer and workstation ergonomics .