The Study of Ergonomics

Ergonomics is not a term many people are familiar with. In fact, when the question was asked at a random message board about what ergonomics was, many people were stumped and thought it had something to do with money.

Ergonomics is actually all about how humans are capable of certain demands in regards to work. Scientists who study ergonomics are called ergonomists and they show how to relieve stress and tension in the work place, and also in every day living.

 

What is ergonomics and how can knowing about it benefit your life?

 

 

Why is Ergonomics important?

 

In our changing, fast paced society, people are under more stress than ever. To help relieve tension, stress and to correct posture for better health, ergonomists take into consideration certain important key factors.

These key factors can include how a person sits, stands or moves about in an area. This would also include the length of time for these activities. Range of motion and how humans normally move are also taken into consideration. Ergonomists try to discover what makes certain situations more stressful on the body and how they can relieve this stress.

For example, many people who work in offices spend up to eight hours a day sitting in a chair and staring at a screen, moving their hands about a keyboard or mouse. While being in a sitting position in a certain posture may be considered comfortable, humans generally slump over after a certain period of time. To prevent this, ergonomics may recommend moving about into different, posture perfect positions in order to keep you comfortable and relieve the body of stress and tension.

 

What are the results of Ergonomic Studies?

 

When you study ergonomics and design it to practical applications in every day use, you’ll find it results in a more comfortable work environment. Studying ergonomics begins with an understanding of how the body works, what makes the body most comfortable and other techniques.

The studies that are put together test and retest certain products when used in daily activities. The recommended suggestions may change as studies progress. For example, it was conventional wisdom up until recently to put a computer monitor as close as 18 inches from your face. Now ergonomists suggest that a monitor should be as far away as possible as long as you are still able to read it easily. These changes can only occur with the continued study and efforts put in by ergonomists.

Learning about Ergonomics for Application in Daily Life

The study of ergonomics exists to help improve the work life of people. With applied techniques, people have found their work comes easier and they are more able to relax during and at the end of the day. The application of ergonomics improves the over all quality of life for most individuals.

It is one thing to study and earn about ergonomics, it is something else to actually put it into practice and apply the techniques. However, most techniques are simple and require very little change to your work environment. Simple ideas like how high you sit in a chair, how close your computer monitor is, and getting up to stretch every so often to break up the workday may make the difference between working in a stressful environment or working in one which is much healthier.

How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

carpaltunnelsyndrome How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)If you’ve never experienced it, consider yourself lucky. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-a painful condition caused by swelling of the tendons in the wrists-is no joke. Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from the affliction on a daily basis; many have had to quit their jobs or abandon favorite activities, and the worst part is… chances are, it could have been avoided.

CTS is caused by repetitive, unnatural movements such as typing for extended periods of time or manipulating machines that vibrate. Those that have experienced the onset of CTS firsthand often complain of intense pain, swelling, limited hand functions, loss of strength, even loss of feeling.

There are some basic steps you can take to prevent-or at least reduce-your risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

  • Spend the time and money on outfitting your desk properly. Many of us who feel we don’t spend “that much” time on our home computers know that we’re sitting in an uncomfortable, unnatural position, but decide to just suffer through it. Bad idea. Even short amounts of time spent working in unnatural positions over the course of weeks can be harmful. Install an ergonomically correct keyboard tray on your computer desk.
  • Keep your hands warm. If you work in a cold environment, either outside or a building where you can’t control the temperature (like a warehouse), wear fingerless gloves that keep the muscles in your wrists from cooling down and tightening.
  • Alternate tasks to avoid overuse. Sure, logically it makes sense to enter all the orders on the computer at once and then move on to filing, finishing that in one fell swoop too. Don’t compromise the health of your body for efficiency. After all, how efficient will you be when you type more slowly due to wrist pain, or need to use both hands to pull heavy files? Take breaks and alternate tasks, giving your muscles time to relax and readapt.
  • Reduce your force. Instead of pounding on your keyboard like you’re Mozart banging out a concerto, touch your keyboard lightly. Hold pens and levers with a relaxed grip. Use a sawing motion to cut rather than pressing down with your wrist. Paying attention to unnatural pressure on your hands and wrists is key to realizing when you’re putting yourself at risk. Treat your wrists well, and they’ll do the same for you.

The saying of “prevention is better than cure” is definitely a big must when it comes to CTS as it can be a very big hinderance in your day-to-day life tasks.