“Ergonomics is about design that treats the body well emotion and surprise are also a form of ergonomics as it makes products more understandable and loved” – Yves Behar,Designer
ERGONOMICS is the word which is buzzing in recent days. It is about “fitting work to people”. It is a system of designing workplaces, products and systems to fit the people who use them. Ergonomics, which is more popular in North America, is a branch of science aimed to apply the knowledge about human abilities and limitations to improve people’s interaction with products, systems and environments.
Ergonomists provide suggestions on the basis of body sizes, shapes; populations and variations biomechanics: muscles, levers, forces, strength environmental physics: noise, light, heat, cold, radiation, vibration body systems: hearing, vision, sensations applied psychology: skill, learning, errors, differences social psychology: groups, communication, learning and behaviours. The major goal of ergonomics is to develop a comfortable and safe work system. Ergonomics is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use.
Today’s work culture demands working for longer hours on computers. In long term it results in aches and pains in some parts of our body. These musculoskeletal related issues appears more in computer programmers, engineers, data entry workers, telephone operators, customer service workers, and even graduate students. The problems start as a minor muscle ache and leads to serious tendon problem for years. The mostly affected body parts are hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. The problems may vary from aches to pain, burning, numbness or tingling. These symptoms may aggravate while typing or using a mouse. Better you diagnose and treat the problem with a qualified physician.
Step 1: Your Chair
1. Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair
2. Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to or slightly lower than your hips
3. Adjust the back of the chair to a 100-110 degrees stretch out direction. Ensure that your upper and lower backs are supported. Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if required.
4. Adjust the armrests to relax your shoulders.
Step 2: Your Keyboard
An articulating keyboard tray provides optimal positioning of input devices. The tray accommodates the mouse, facilitates leg clearance and adjustable leg mechanism.
1. Pull up close to your keyboard.
2. Position the keyboard directly in front of your body.
3. Ensure that part of the keyboard which you are using frequently and readjust the part as centered with your body.
4. Adjust the keyboard height so that the shoulders are relaxed and keep your elbows in slightly open direction and hands and wrists straight.
5. The keyboard angle depends upon the sitting position. Adjust the keyboard angle as per the keyboard tray mechanism. If you sit in a forward or upright position, try tilting your keyboard away from you at a negative angle.
6. Wrist rests can help maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. Wrist rests are used to rest the palms between keystrokes. Avoid using excessively wide wrist rests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard.
7. Place the pointer as close as possible to the keyboard.
Follow the above tips and adjust your work station height, keyboard tray, height of your chair to get in to comfortable position.
Step 3: Pauses and Breaks
You set up your work station properly to follow the good work habits.
1. Take short 1-2 minutes breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work take break for 5-10 minutes.
2. Try to get away from your computer during lunch hours.
3. Avoid eye fatigue by resting and focusing your eyes periodically.
4. Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.
5. Use correct posture when working.
Step 4: Screen, Document and Telephone
Wrong positioning of the screen and documents results in awkward postures. Adjust the screen and source documents so that your neck is in relaxed and neutral position.
1. Center the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard.
2. Position the top of the screen above seated eye level.
3. Sit arm’s length away from the screen to adjust the distance for your vision.
4. Reduce glare by careful positioning of the screen.
• Place screen at right angles to windows
• Adjust curtains as per your comfort
• Adjust the vertical screen angles and screen controls to minimize the glare
• Reduce glare by using optical glass filters, light filters and secondary task lights
5. Position source documents in front of you, between the screen and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand.
6. Keep your telephone within your reach.
7. Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the headset.