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     The Practice Of Ergonomics

Thanks to the study of ERGONOMICS, we can now find better ways to work. It has been shown that our bodies can be under stress and tension even when we are sitting at a desk. Applying the techniques learned through the study of the work environment helps the body to work BETTER and more efficiently.

Often, there are simple CHANGES to the way people sit and move that can really help relieve tension. Something as simple as where the computer monitor is positioned can make such a difference. These techniques are easy to apply; all it takes is a little knowledge.

Even simple daily activities can be considered detrimental to people’s health. Doing the same activity again and again in a REPETITIVE motion can overwork tendons, causing an inflammation and irritation. Sitting or standing in an unnatural and UNCOMFORTABLE position can put strain on joints and muscles, causing pain. And putting yourself in a position where you have to reach, bend, stretch, or otherwise contort your body to get your work done rarely has a good effect on the body. In addition to making your every day life better, you also can perform better in the workplace with some applied techniques that we learn from ergonomics.

For example talking on the PHONE for long periods of time can be damaging to your posture and create tension. In reality, when most people use a traditional telephone, they slump one shoulder, bending it into the ear as they are listening and talking. This eventually makes the body uncomfortable, even if switching between ears. In this case, it is recommended that anyone who uses the telephone for long periods of time invest in a HEADSET for their telephone. The other option is to use a speakerphone. Either product would relieve stress on the shoulder and arm.

Another example would be SITTING for long periods of time. If you are in a poorly suited chair, this puts strain on your back, your buttocks, and even your legs. And some sitting positions can even cut off circulation to your legs and feet, which is unhealthy. Possible solutions would be to actually get up and MOVE at frequent intervals. If you are forced to sit for long periods, a readjusting chair that lets you move and stretch periodically will help. If you can, get up and stretch, or try doing other tasks while standing or moving around.

A lot of the focus for comfort in the workplace comes from the position of the COMPUTER keyboard and mouse. Carpal tunnel syndrome and other similar repetitive strain injuries are becoming more and more common, as we spend greater portions of our day typing and clicking. With developments in technology, we need to retrain ourselves to adjust the PLACEMENT of our hands and wrists. The improper use of the keyboard and the wrong positioning of the wrists for long periods of time can cause permanent damage.

The proper POSITIONING of the keyboard has been debated by ergonomists. However, they do all agree that the wrists should be LEVEL at all times, with frequent rest stops for flexing the muscles. It is suggested that the elbow should be slightly lower than where the wrists are positioned. The development of special mats, keyboards and other products help with the support of the wrists and arms. These has also been an increase in awareness and education relating to different preventative techniques.

Many people may hear about ergonomics and try to apply the techniques to their daily life or in their work place; however, a TRAINED professional can often create more positive results. A trained professional can show people exactly where to place hands, how to sit, and even give recommendations to changing the work area. If your workplace is facing ergonomic challenges -- particularly on a large scale across a number of employees -- consider bringing in an ergonomics CONSULTANT to assist. He or she can evaluate the situation, draw up a plan of action, and even recommend some products that will help alleviate some of the strain.

Learning ergonomics can be a very simple process and may only takes a little time to ADJUST old habits. By being aware of your posture and the TOOLS that you use you may find that you work more efficiently and with more comfort.


Written by Bo Pritchard of Ergodevices. They supply ergonomically designed keyboard trays, monitor supports, and accessories which have all been constructed with your spine, joints and limbs in mind. They help relieve the stress that repetition and long hours can put on your body. Better design, better health. Visit their site at www.ergodevices.com.

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