Faculty, staff, and students can prevent ergonomic-related injuries by following best practices for working at desks and lab stations, and for lifting and handling materials. Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) offers self-service checklists, training, and consultations to help you set up an ergonomically correct work environment to decrease the likelihood of experiencing physical discomfort or injury.
Please note that MOST in person ergonomic consultations have been temporarily suspended, BUT if you are working from home, there is new content and a virtual evaluation available to you.
Please complete the steps below:
1. Educate yourself:
- Office based ergonomics (20 minutes). Please view in presentation mode with enabled content.
- Sit to Stand Office Based best practice (10 minutes). Please view in presentation mode with enabled content.
- Working from Home? How to reduce ergonomic discomfort (3 minutes). Please view in presentation mode with enabled content as there is a Youtube video on slide 5).
Once you have educated yourself and requested assistance, you will be contacted directly.
Each individual and workstation are different. Adjust your own work environment using the following steps. These adjustments tend to work for many individuals; however, if implementing these changes does not provide relief from discomfort, let the ergonomic representative from your area know during your consultation.
- Adjusting your chair
- Move your chair away from your desk and pretend the desk does not exist to adjust the chair to fit YOU.
- Adjust the height of the chair so your feet are comfortably flat on the floor.
- Adjust the seat depth so you have 2-3 finger widths between the front edge of the chair and your calf.
- Raise or lower the backrest height to fit comfortably in the low back at your beltline.
- Move the armrests down completely. Relax your shoulders, then bend your elbows to 90 degrees.
- Hold your elbow there and raise the armrest to support your arm in that position without pushing your shoulders up.
- Adjusting your keyboard tray
Roll up to the desk or keyboard tray, then complete the action relevant to your situation:
|IF THE KEYBOARD AND MOUSE ARE…||THEN…|
|Higher than the armrests||Try one of the following solutions:
|Lower than the armrests||Try one of the following solutions:
- Adjusting your monitor
NOTE: Adjust the height of your monitor last.
|IF YOU…||THEN THE TOP CASING OF THE MONITOR SHOULD BE IN LINE WITH…|
|Do not wear glasses||Your eyes without tipping your head up or down to facilitate a slightly downward gaze of the eyes, which is ideal.|
|Wear single lenses or contacts||Your eyes without tipping your head up or down to facilitate a slightly downward gaze of the eyes, which is ideal.|
|Wear bifocals, progressive lenses, or trifocals||The middle section of your glasses to avoid tilting the head up to see the screen.|
- Troubleshooting Ergonomic-Related Discomfort
- Sit to Stand Workstations; Maximizing Comfort and Productivity
Poor posture when using pipettes, microscopes and other laboratory equipment can cause employees to feel discomfort. Since laboratory space is typically used by a variety of employees, designing a space that works best for everyone is what ergonomics does.
Using ergonomic equipment helps:
- Reduce compression on the arms and elbows
- Improve posture
- Alleviate stress on the low back
- Reduce discomfort in the wrist and thumb
Back injuries are closely associated with lifting heavy materials. Eighty (80) percent of people will experience low back discomfort significant enough to visit their doctor sometime during their career. Although learning how to lift heavy items while reducing your risk of injury is helpful, it is always better to engineer out risks associated with heavy lifting. This means using carts and lifts instead of your body to handle heavy loads. Ergonomics can help identify engineering solutions to reduce lifting materials.
Lifting and Material Handling Ergonomics Training
EHS offers ergonomic presentations to U-M faculty and staff free of charge. Presentations are customized to your needs but address the following issues:
- Ergonomic risk factors during lifting and handling
- Why the back gets injured
- Simple adjustments to reduce risks and associated discomfort