The Inside Plant Safety Committee met on August 25th. Howard Driggers, who works in the St Pete Fsrc, led the meeting with a power point presentation on Ergonomics. He explained that ergonomics is the art and science of reducing physical and psychological problems that might arise from the interaction between people, equipment and the environment. The risk factors are force, frequency and posture. Force exertions increase your risk of injury. This is caused when your desk is not set up to where everything is within easy reach.
Another cause of injury is a workstation that is not set up specifically for you. It starts with the height of you chair. Your chair height adjustment should ensure that your thighs are parallel with the floor, with a right angle at the knees, with your feet flat on the floor or footrest, if needed.
Next, you need to verify the keyboard placement is set up where your wrists are straight while keying. This is to ensure that there is no bend in your wrist up or down. When your wrists are bent slightly in either direction the tendons can get irritated and swell which puts pressure on the median nerve. That is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and can be extremely painful.
In setting up your personal workstation you will also need to make sure your monitor is set up for you. Raise or lower the monitor so that the top of the screen is level or slightly below eye level. This will alleviate pains in your neck from either having to look up or down. It should also be an arms length away from you and in line with the keyboard. This will eliminate the need for turning your neck.
Ensuring correct posture is another element of ergonomics. Awkward postures can be caused by your workstation not being set up for you specifically. When you sit in a non-neutral position you are putting uneven forces on your lower back, which cause lower back pain.
There is a numerical calculation to setting up your personal workstation. If you need help verifying you work station is set up for you properly please contact your union safety advocate.