What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a practical science that helps us to achieve safety, security and comfort and to maintain and improve our health. The term "ergonomics" is derived from two Greek words: "ergon,", meaning work, and "nomoi," meaning natural laws. Ergonomists study human capabilities in relationship to work demands. Simply put, it is fitting a job to a person.
Here are some ways to maintain good ergonomics and add to our productivity:
- Maintain proper posture, paying careful attention to positioning of head, neck/spine, arms/wrists, hips/thighs and feet. Avoid abrupt twisting of the body and awkward positions.
- Ensure the small of your back is supported, your shoulders relaxed (not slumped, not elevated), and that there is no pressure under your thighs.
- Alternate between different postures on a regular basis.
- When typing, use minimum force while striking the keys. Do not bang the keys.
- Keep a neutral position, where the forearms, wrists and hands are in a straight line.
- Avoid awkward reaching for work tools such as telephone, mouse and reference materials. Keep often used items near you and seldom used ones, much further away.
- Avoid resting elbows, forearms or wrists on hard surfaces or sharp edges.
- Take frequent mini-breaks throughout the day to give muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover.
- Alternate between work activities, which use different muscle groups to avoid overuse.
- Give eyes a break by closing them occasionally, gazing at a distant object and blinking frequently.
- Maintain appropriate light levels for specific tasks. More light is usually needed to read a document than a computer screen.
- Reduce or eliminate glare by using window shades, diffusers on overhead lighting and anti-glare filters for computers.
- Adjust the contrast and brightness on your computer screen to a comfortable level.
- Get a regular eye exam and if necessary, wear corrective lenses. Tell your eye specialist how often you use the computer.
- Clean the computer screen and other surfaces regularly.
All work activities should permit the worker to adopt several different, but equally healthy and safe postures. When you need to exert physical effort, make sure that you use the largest appropriate muscle groups (i.e. when lifting, use your legs and not your back). In addition, work activities should be performed with the joints at about mid-point of their range of movement. This applies particularly to the head, trunk, and upper limbs.
If we utilize proper posture, and use the principles of Ergonomics, we reduce the risk of injury and discomfort as well as increase productivity.