Why Ergonomics Matters

Published Thursday, April 08, 2010 9:06 AM
Are you sitting?

Does your chair support your lower back?

Here is a fact you might not know: On average, adults spends over 90% of our waking hours sitting down. It is a natural progression from breakfast table to car/train/bus to workstation to lunch table to workstation to car/train/bus to dinner table to couch. You get the picture. Most of us lead a very sedentary existence.

That is why ergonomics matters so much.

Ergonomics is the science (and art) of designing the workplace to suit the worker, rather than the other way around. Proper ergonomic design helps prevent repetitive stress injury (RSI), like carpal tunnel syndrome, and back problems that can develop over time and lead to long-term disability.


If you are brand new to this concept, or want to learn more about ergonomics, here are some resources: 


In a recent post, HR World presents The Ultimate Guide to Workstation Ergonomics that includes tips, websites, consulting firms and manufacturers in the field. Among the tips offered are:


  • Work area - Make sure your workspace is large enough for you to spread out comfortably and have a full range of motion
  • Chair - Support your lower back and adjust your chair so that your feet are firmly on the floor (use a footrest if necessary) and you can easily reach your keyboard and mouse
  • Computer monitor - To avoid eyestrain and related problems, center your monitor in front of you at a comfortable distance, adjust the brightness settings and take breaks from staring at your screen (for additional tips, see this post on How to Take Care of Your Eyes)
  • Computer keyboard - Situate your computer keyboard on your desk so your arms are parallel to your thighs or use a keyboard tray to facilitate proper positioning


You can learn more about ergonomics from the product design mistakes showcased in this Popular Mechanics piece on 5 Design Flaws that Ruined Otherwise Smart Gadgets. For inspiration on the flipside, this blog post profiles an award-winning ergonomic violin design.

by Carly Fadako

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