Ergonomics is the science that studies the relationship between how we work and the environment we work in. Good ergonomics allows a person to work in an environment that causes minimal physical strain on the body and is a crucial part of injury prevention. This is important for all of us- no matter what we work at! For example:
- For a person with a desk based job: having the screen, chair or computer mouse at the incorrect height, or in the incorrect place, may predispose someone to developing a neck or upper limb problem.
- For a chef: given the repetitive nature of food preparation and the demand to be standing, having the work surface https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/checklist_purchasing_guide.html
- at the incorrect height could be a contributing factor in developing low back pain.
- For a musician: poor technique, posture and an incorrectly sized instrument could predispose to neck or shoulder pain and even overuse injuries at the wrist.
At IONA Physiotherapy, we have a particular interest in ergonomics and work place assessments as we see this as an important part of a comprehensive rehabilitation programme and in injury prevention. Making our work environments a pleasant and productive place is of interest to employees and employers alike. Ergonomic and work placed assessments can be arranged on an individual basis or a workshop can be carried out in a group setting.
If you use a computer at work or home, run through this self-assessment checklist from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the US, to assess and improve your setup.