Ergonomics is defined as the multidisciplinary study of the interactions between a worker and their work environment. The goal is to design and arrage equipment or tools such that workers are able to interact with them in a healthy, comfortable and efficient manner. Examples include the placement of computer screen, keyboard, mouse, chair, desk or other equipment in an office or height of work benches and equipment in work shops.
Poor workplace designs can present ergonomic risk factors called stressors. These stressors include but are not limited to repetition, force, and extreme postures, static postures, contact pressure, vibration and cold temperatures. Well designed work stations, i.e. fitting the work to the worker, helps lessen muscle fatigue, reduces the number and severity of work-related injuries and increases productivity.
Individuals or departments interested in ergonomics evaluations should first complete the Workstation Evaluation and OSHA E-Tools Checklist. These guides provide a step by step process for individual evaluation of each person's workstation. Everyone's physiology and workstation setup is unique, so the self guided evaluation is the most effective first step. The vast majority of improvement can be made with simple adjustments as recommended by the guides:
After the evaluations are complete, EH&S staff can review assessment results with your staff to determine areas of potential improvement.