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Introduction to Office Ergonomics In addition to this online slideshow, the OH&S Unit can run face-to-face training sessions that includes practical instruction.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Office Ergonomics In addition to this online slideshow, the OH&S Unit can run face-to-face training sessions that includes practical instruction."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Office Ergonomics In addition to this online slideshow, the OH&S Unit can run face-to-face training sessions that includes practical instruction in how to set up a workstation. Call x Occupational Health & Safety Unit

2 What is Ergonomics Ergonomics refers to the interaction between the individual, their work and work environment so that human capabilities are reinforced without exceeding human limitations. Ergonomics refers to the interaction between the individual, their work and work environment so that human capabilities are reinforced without exceeding human limitations. 2 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

3 Ergonomics is involved in the interaction of the three components of all work tasks: The Work The Work The Worker The Worker The Workspace The Workspace 3 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

4 4 An example of poorly set up workstations.

5 5 Another example.

6 What Does Ergonomics Aim To Do? The aim of Ergonomics is to minimise the mismatch that occurs between the person and the job or match the capabilities of humans and the requirements of the job they are expected to perform. Where possible, all attempts should be made to fit the job to the person. 6 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

7 Workplace Injuries Back pain Back pain Shoulder and arm pain Shoulder and arm pain Headaches Headaches 7 Occupational Health & Safety Unit Providing a telephone headset can reduce the incidence of headaches caused by cradling the phone in the neck while taking a message.

8 Lighting Workers should be able to see clearly. Workers should be able to see clearly. Safely perform their work. Safely perform their work. Measurement of light levels is in lux. Measurement of light levels is in lux. Examples of levels for reference material: Examples of levels for reference material: –good, simple detail Lux –average detail Lux –poor, fine detail Lux 8 Occupational Health & Safety Unit More information on lighting issues later on in the slideshow.

9 Work Rest The length of the pause and how often they are taken depends on the work, the person and other factors The length of the pause and how often they are taken depends on the work, the person and other factors Frequent short pauses are preferable to infrequent longer pauses. Frequent short pauses are preferable to infrequent longer pauses. 9 Occupational Health & Safety Unit Staff should be encouraged to take regular rest breaks from a given task, even if this means changing the task.

10 Body Mechanics Tendons and ligaments cross over joints to form levers. Tendons and ligaments cross over joints to form levers. The best, strongest and safest work position is when the joints are at mid range. The best, strongest and safest work position is when the joints are at mid range. 10 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

11 Muscle Activity  Dynamic muscle activity – when joints are at mid-range.  Static muscle activity – when joints are at their extreme range. 11 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

12 12 Above, all joints at mid-range causing dynamic muscle loading. This is a ‘comfortable’ posture.

13 Occupational Overuse Syndrome A collective term for a range of conditions characterised by discomfort or persistent pain in muscles, tendons and other soft tissues with or without visible symptoms. 13 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

14 Contributing Factors  Repetitive movement  Sustained or constrained postures  Forceful movements  Incentive schemes that influence work rate  Tight deadlines  Dependent on the duration and frequency of the tasks being performed. 14 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

15 How Injuries Occur Static Muscle Contraction  Muscles Tense  Blood Flow is reduced  Muscle Nutrition is reduced  Waste products (lactic acid) build up  Muscle pain and fatigue  Injury/Disability 15 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

16 Efficient Posture  Places minimal or balanced stress on different body parts.  Requires minimal muscular effort to sustain.  Is perceived as comfortable by the individual. 16 Occupational Health & Safety Unit See example on Slide 12.

17 It is important to reinforce that all persons should vary posture regularly and usually between sitting and standing/walking. 17 Efficient Posture Occupational Health & Safety Unit For example, rather than place a printer on a desk, locate it where the staff member has to get up and walk to retrieve printed documents

18 Setting Up The Workstation Work reach  Most frequently used items should be within approximately mm.  Less used items can be at a further distance. 18 Occupational Health & Safety Unit This is a fundamental of ergonomics and eliminates unnecessary work.

19  Type of work performed.  Items being handled.  Tools and controls used  Height of the workers 19 Work surface height - standing Occupational Health & Safety Unit When setting up an area such as a bench or counter for work to be performed while standing the above factors should be taken into consideration.

20  Benches for collating/stapling - below elbow height.  Benches for writing - above elbow height.  Recommended height for reception counters mm.  However, depends on worker’s height. 20 Work surface height - standing Occupational Health & Safety Unit Recommended dimensions for seated workstations can be obtained from the ‘toolbox’ on the OH&S web page.

21  Most workers can manage with a ‘fixed height’ work area if chair is adjustable.  Clerical Work - adjust chair height so top surface of desk is just above elbow level.  Keyboard work - home row of keyboard should be at approximately elbow height.  Allow adequate clearance for thighs. 21 Work surface height - sitting Occupational Health & Safety Unit Instruction on how to adjust a chair can be found in the ‘toolbox’ on the OH&S web page.

22 Main principles are :  Spine should be supported using the backrest.  Static loading needs to be minimised. 22 Seat Design Occupational Health & Safety Unit

23 Features should include:  A backrest that is adjustable in angle and height and depth (not always available).  Cloth covered back and seat.  Curved front edge. 23 Seat Design Occupational Health & Safety Unit

24 A good chair should have:  Gas strut for height adjustability  Five star base for stability. Kneeling chairs or exercise balls only to be used with written medical recommendation. 24 Seat Design Occupational Health & Safety Unit

25 “Executive” chairs have limited adjustability. 25 Seat Design Occupational Health & Safety Unit

26  Arm rests are usually unnecessary.  Higher (drafting) chairs are usually harder to get up onto, the ring may cause tripping.  Castors are suitable for carpeted floors.  Glides to be used on hard floor surfaces. 26 Seat Design Occupational Health & Safety Unit

27 Keyboards 27  Should be placed in front of the screen and directly in front of the user so that there is no need to twist or rotate to use it.  Should be placed near the front edge of the desk to reduce the reach distance. Occupational Health & Safety Unit

28 28  ‘Feet’ at rear of keyboard should be kept in a lowered position to minimise the height and angle of the keyboard.  Where possible the keyboard should be moved away to allow the work surface to be used for other tasks such as writing. Keyboards Occupational Health & Safety Unit

29 Split keyboards enable the joints to adopt a neutral posture while keying. 29 Keyboards Occupational Health & Safety Unit

30 30 Keyboards Occupational Health & Safety Unit Another split keyboard.

31 31  The use of wrist rests should be viewed with some caution.  The whole hand should move and not be kept in one position with the fingers reaching sideways. Wrist Rests Occupational Health & Safety Unit

32 32 Wrist supports (keyboard) Occupational Health & Safety Unit

33 33 Wrist Supports (mouse) Occupational Health & Safety Unit Mouse mats with, a pad for supporting the wrist, come in various shapes and styles.

34 34  Top of the screen should be at horizontal eye level or lower, to minimise neck flexion.  Where large screens are used, may need some of screen above horizontal eye level.  Screen should be mm from eyes.  Distance can vary with individual preferences. Computer Screens Occupational Health & Safety Unit

35 35  Workers wearing bifocals may tilt head back which may result in neck discomfort.  Multifocal lenses not suitable for VDU’s.  Workers may purchase glasses prescribed for computer, or position computer screen as low as possible and with an increase tilt backwards, if they have no other glasses. Computer Screens Occupational Health & Safety Unit

36 36  Adjustable document holder may reduce forward neck inclination which may cause neck strain.  Documents should be placed level to screen or between keyboard and the screen.  Reading documents resting on the desk for prolonged periods may cause neck and shoulder strain. Document Holders Occupational Health & Safety Unit

37 37 Footrests  Footrests are required by people who are unable to place their feet flat on the floor when sitting in a correctly adjusted chair.  A correctly adjusted foot stool should allow the person’s legs to be at right angles with no pressure on the underside of the thighs. Occupational Health & Safety Unit

38 38 Mouse and Trackball The mouse should not place undue pressure on the wrist and forearm muscles:  Avoid stretching the arm in extension.  Place the mouse beside the keyboard.  Ensure mouse operates smoothly with the minimum of force. Occupational Health & Safety Unit

39 39 Mouse and Trackball  Keep the arm by the side of the body with the forearm supported by the work surface.  Move the keyboard out of the way if necessary.  Avoid constant use without rest breaks.  Learn to use it with either hand. Occupational Health & Safety Unit

40 Mouse and Trackball Other issues:  Clogging – clean regularly, discard if bad.  Optical mice preferred as no clogging.  Cordless mice can be used when left and right handed people are using a workstation or if box located too far from monitor.  Scroll wheels can reduce the amount of ‘cut and paste’. 40 Occupational Health & Safety Unit

41 41 Laptop / Notebook Computers  These do not allow correct ergonomics due to the compact nature of the equipment.  Arm and neck position are less than ideal.  When using it for a long time it is better to plug laptop into regular screen and keyboard.  Can just use keyboard and mouse with screen raised to normal monitor height.  Use plug in mouse rather than touch pad. Occupational Health & Safety Unit

42 42 Lighting issues Glare:  Occurs when one part of an area is much brighter than the background or vice versa.  If a bright window is positioned behind a computer screen, the contrast and glare can be considerable. Occupational Health & Safety Unit

43 43  Control light through windows (blinds).  Reduce contrast between foreground and background.  Reposition workstation to reduce light falling on the work surface.  Reduce general lighting to suit the task. To Reduce Glare Occupational Health & Safety Unit

44 44 Light reflected from a surface can make it difficult to see what is on it. To reduce reflections especially from computer screens, position screen side-on to main light source. Reflection Occupational Health & Safety Unit

45 If repositioning doesn’t work, use screen filters. 45 Screen Filters Occupational Health & Safety Unit

46 46 Shadows can encourage poor postures.To reduce:  Reposition work.  Redirecting lighting.  Install adjustable task lamp.  Remove barriers to light. Shadows Occupational Health & Safety Unit

47 47 Posture Awkward posture can arise when people find it difficult to see what they are working with and they may lean closer to the object or bring it closer to their eyes. Occupational Health & Safety Unit

48 48 Visual Rest Eye muscles can become tired when constantly focused on close work. To control visual tiredness, the person should focus on an object at a different distance to work that they have been looking at. Occupational Health & Safety Unit This is a similar principle to taking rest breaks by varying tasks.

49 49 Assessing specific issues Occupational Health & Safety Unit When specific symptoms arise, it is necessary to:  Clarify the symptoms  Attempt to assess the cause of the symptoms when considering the ergonomics of the work and workstation.

50 50 Use of a checklist Occupational Health & Safety Unit The key issues are to determine:  Whether equipment is positioned correctly and is being used correctly.  Whether or not static muscle loading is occurring.  Whether or not aspects of the work are repetitive. An ergonomics checklist and other useful documentation can be obtained from the ‘toolbox’ on the OH&S web page.


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