Ergonomics is the science that addresses human performance factors (human engineering) and how they relate to the job, the workplace, tools, and the environment. As part of a comprehensive health and safety program, Environmental Health &Safety offers Clarkson University personnel a variety of ergonomic resources.
Clarkson University’s EH&S performs ergonomic worksite evaluations. The purpose of an ergonomic evaluation is to identify occupational repetitive stress injury risk factors and make appropriate recommendations based on current guidelines.
The guidelines below should assist you in self-evaluation of your workstation. If you currently have discomfort whil at your workstation, you can also refer to an Ergonomics tool provided by Cornell University:
Workstation design can have a big impact on your overall health and well being. Some problems are a multitude of discomforts which can result from ergonomically incorrect computer workstation set-ups. For example, poor chairs and/or bad posture can cause lower back strain; or a chair that is too high can cause circulation loss in legs and feet.
- Center the monitor directly in front of you above your keyboard.
- Position the top of the monitor approximately 2-3” above seated eye level. (If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor to a comfortable reading level.)
- Sit at least an arm's length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision.
- Reduce glare by careful positioning of the screen.
- Place screen at right angles to windows
- Adjust curtains or blinds as needed
- Adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare from overhead lights
- Other techniques to reduce glare include use of optical glass glare filters, light filters, or secondary task lights
- Position source documents directly in front of you, between the monitor and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space, place source documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the monitor.
- Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
- Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.
- Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
- Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips.
- Place feet firmly on the floor or footrest.
- Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes.
- Adjust the armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.
- Pull up close to your keyboard.
- Position the keyboard directly in front of your body.
- Determine what section of the board you use most frequently, and readjust the keyboard so that section is centered with your body.
- Adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position (100° to 110°), and your wrists and hands are straight.
- The tilt of your keyboard is dependent upon your sitting position. Use the keyboard tray mechanism, or keyboard feet, to adjust the tilt. If you sit in a forward or upright position, try tilting your keyboard away from you at a negative angle. If you are reclined, a slight positive tilt will help maintain a straight wrist position.
- Wristrests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wristrest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes. Resting on the wristrest while typing is not recommended. Avoid using excessively wide wristrests, or wristrests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard.
- Place the pointer as close as possible to the keyboard. Placing it on a slightly inclined surface, or using it on a mousebridge placed over the 10-keypad, can help to bring it closer.
Follow these steps when lifting:
1. Take a balanced stance with your feet about a shoulder-width apart. One foot can be behind the object and the other next to it.
2. Squat down to lift the object, but keep your heels off the floor. Get as close to the object as you can.
3. Use your palms (not just your fingers) to get a secure grip on the load. Make sure you'll be able to maintain a hold on the object without switching your grip later.
4. Lift gradually (without jerking) using your leg, abdominal and buttock muscles and keeping the load as close to you as possible. Keep your chin tucked in so as to keep a relatively straight back and neck line.
5. Once you're standing, change directions by pointing your feet in the direction you want to go and turning your whole body. Avoid twisting at your waist while carrying a load.
6. When you put a load down, use these same guidelines in reverse.
Also follow these lifting tips:
Reduce the amount of weight lifted. If you're moving a bunch of books, better to load several small boxes than one extremely heavy load.
Use handles and lifting straps.
Get help if the shape is too awkward or the object is too heavy for you to lift and move by yourself!
For more information or to set-up and worksite evaluation, contact EH&S at x7722.
Environmental Health & Safety Manager
107 Graham Hall
8 Clarkson Avenue
Potsdam, NY 13699