Ergonomics in the workplace

Nearly two-thirds of European Union workers report being exposed to repetitive hand and arm movements – significant risk factors for musculoskeletal (LME) lesions of the cervical and upper limbs related to poor posture at work.

Good working position is essential to prevent structural damage to the human body, such as muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, or localized problems of the circulatory system, caused or aggravated mainly by professional activity and the effects of immediate conditions on That this action takes place. A good posture is a comfortable position and where the joints are naturally aligned – a neutral posture. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on muscles, tendons, and skeleton, and as a consequence, the risk of workers developing SML.

To prevent this type of occupational disease, it is necessary to adopt control measures to eliminate or reduce the risk to which workers are exposed.

The following is a simplified summary of some actions which may contribute to improving the performance and well-being of employees, in particular, administrative employees.

The promotion of the maintenance of facilities, equipment, and furniture, is one of the fundamental aspects of the prevention of muscle-skeletal injuries.

Furniture

Chair

The chairs must be ergonomic, having passive mechanisms of regulation and only some manual commands of easy access and usability. The following requirements should be met:

- Have support for the back (medium/high) that allows proper support of the lumbar and dorsal areas of the spine;

- Have a rounded seat at the front and adjustable in height, allowing a total support of the feet on the ground;

- Have a stable base (5 wheels);

- The height of the accent should be similar to the popliteal height (distance between the floor and the posterior region of the knee).

Table

- The dimensions of the top should allow a sufficient working area to be able to store all the necessary materials.

- The elements of frequent use should be placed within the optimum range, while the less used elements should be more distant.

- The worker’s elbow should be substantially above his worktop.

- The free space between the table and the chair should allow a comfortable accommodation of the thighs (20 cm to 30 cm) and movement of the legs.

Monitor

- The monitor should be positioned about 60 cm away from the worker’s face.

- The upper edge of the monitor should be at eye level or slightly below (10º to 20º).

Keyboard

The keyboard should be ergonomic keyboard or at least meet the following requirements:

- Tiltable;

- Independent of the screen;

- Have a surface that avoids reflections;

- Located on a movable surface, below table level (if present).

Mouse

- The mouse must be positioned according to the laterality of the worker (left-handed or right-handed) within a neutral range and placed on a flat and uneven surface.

Portable

- The laptop compels the user to lean forward, without lumbar support, curving the shoulders, subjecting himself to a high compression of the soft structures of the forearm and wrist.

- The monitor is too low for most users which induce additional tension at the neck level.

- The laptop on a height-adjustable stand, using a second external keyboard and a mouse, located on a desk stand, allows the adoption of a more neutral posture of all segments of the body. This method keeps the back supported, the shoulders, neck, and wrists in a neutral position; Without pressure on the structures of the forearm and wrist.

Then I present an excellent video published by Vodafone, which offers tips on ergonomics in the use of the computer.

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