Computer Workstation Ergonomics Video Display Terminals (VDT)
VDT: Vision & Radiation The American Academy of Opthalmology describes VDTs as presenting no hazard to vision. It does not result in cataracts or any other damage to the eye. The National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) have measured radiation emitted by VDTs and test shows that for all types of radiation are below those allowed in current standards. Currently, OSHA has no reliable information that any birth defects has ever resulted from a pregnant woman working at a video display terminal. However, since radiation continues to be of concern for employees, NIOSH is currently conducting studies to investigate any potential problems Any close work can cause discomfort and stress with time. Occasionally you should: Stretch Look away from your work Get up do other tasks to alter work routines throughout the day
Laboratory Workbenches Most workbenches are of fixed height and cannot be raised or lowered. Therefore: Use adjustable chair/stool with built-in footrest Remove drawers, supplies and other materials underneath workbenches to provide leg room Use anti-fatigue mats if standing for long periods of time
Pipetting Associated Risk Factor Pipetting for two hours a day or longer on a continuous bases run the risk of Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTC) or MusculoSkeletal Disorders (MSD) due to repetitive motion of the hands, forearm and thumb, or fingers Pinch grip when handling pipette tips, or opening vials Bending and twisting of the wrist Working with "winged" elbows (elbow held at an elevated position away from the body) Neck bent forward or to the side and/or jutted chin Awkward and static postures Excessive force of the thumb Overreaching Standing for long periods of time
Pipetting Preventative Measures Perform your work only at appropriate heights. Take frequent small rest breaks every 20 minutes. Wrists in neutral/ straight positions. Avoid working with winged elbows/arms. Use short pipettes, shorter waste receptacles for used tips, to reduce reaching. Use electronic pipettes for highly repetitive pipetting tasks to reduce/eliminate contact pressure on thumb. Use adjustable stools or chairs with built-in foot and arm rest. Use anti-fatigue mats if working for long period of time Make sure head and shoulders are kept in neutral position. Avoid elevating arms and elbows above shoulder for lengthy periods Task sharing is another way to reduce the impact of risk factor associated with pipetting.
Fume hoods/ Biological Safety Cabinets Associated Risk Factors: Repetitive motions of the hands, wrist, and forearms, especially when pipetting is involved, constrained knee and leg space, especially in fume hoods and older BSCs Contact pressure on the forearms, wrists and knees, or legs Awkward and static posture of the neck, torso, legs, arms and wrists Constrained body position, overloading muscles, tendons, and joints in asymmetrical manner Working with elbows winged Overreaching Prolonged standing in unnatural positions or in restricted postures
Fume hoods/ Biological Safety Cabinets Preventive Measures Place materials as close as possible to prevent extended reaching Perform your work at least six inches back into the hood Use only adjustable chair or stool with built-in foot and arm rest Avoid contact pressure. Apply foam padding to the front sharp edge Use anti-fatigue mats if working over a prolonged periods of time Take short breaks Reduce eye strain and awkward posture by keeping viewing window unobstructed Make sure hood/BSC lighting is working properly to reduce eye strain Raise cabinet couple inches upward to create a more comfortable leg and thigh clearance
Microscopy Associated Risk Factors Awkward and static posture of the lower back, neck and head Lack of adequate leg and knee clearance under work table Working with elbows winged Pinch grip when adjusting binocular eyepiece Wrist and palm contact pressure in the carpal tunnel area High repetition Eye strain and fatigue Inverted Microscope: The camera front port eliminates the need to "look round the corner" required by trinocular tubes. One is able to look from the eyepiece to the cultivation vessel and back again unhindered
Microscopy Preventive Measures Keep elbows close to sides, below 45 degree angle Wrists in neutral/straight position, avoid forearm and wrist contact pressure Leg and knee clearance under work bench. Feet flat on floor or supported by footrest Avoid raising shoulders and bending neck while looking through microscope eyepiece Use/purchase extended eyetube and variable height adapter
Microtomy In the course of one day, a laboratory technologist may use between 40 to 50 cassettes or blocks a day, hence turning the microtome wheel for at least 1000 times. This is not only repetitive work, but turning microtome’s wheel also requires force or forceful exertion.
Microtomy Preventive Measures If work performed is by standing or sitting, place microtome on workbench with appropriate height Protect wrists and forearms from contact pressure. Pad sharp edges Use less force when turning handwheel Take frequent breaks every 20 minutes