Dr. Ressler has presented ergonomics, stress management and repetitive stress injury reduction seminars to companies like Progress Energy, Seminole County, AT&T, and numerous local churches, community organizations and businesses.
These informative programs can reduce worker compensation cost, repetitive stress injuries, and increase employee productivity and employee satisfaction.
These presentations are complimentary and do not require your company to purchase additional equipment. (Programs use existing equipment and items normally found in the workplace)
Call today to schedule a presentation for your company or group!
Below you will find helpful tips for work or home ergonomics:
Ergonomics: Your Workplace
Your office is where you spend most of your time. Nearly 60 percent of the workforce will spend their entire working life in an office setting. Having an ergonomically designed workstation that conforms to your specific duties will increase productivity and more importantly it will minimize repetitive stress injuries.
The two pieces of equipment that can cause you the most damage in your office setting are your phone and your chair. We realize that you do not have quite as much control over the workspace as you do your own home. There are, however, some basic guidelines that you should be aware of when organizing your workspace.
- If you spend prolonged periods of time on the telephone it can lead to chronic neck, shoulder, and upper back pain disorders. Using proper phone techniques is key in preventing injuries from developing. Position your telephone in a location that can be easily reached without having to twist, bend or overly stretch.
- Use a headset device, if you like to have your hands free when on the telephone.
- Use the speakerphone when possible and in lieu of a headset, which allows for flexibility to work while talking.
- Keep a pen and pad of paper near your telephone so messages can be taken immediately without changing position or straining to grab the appropriate materials.
- Make sure the curve of your chair matches the natural curvature of your spine. Sit back against the back of chair so your spinal muscles are supported. Sitting on the edge of your chair causes your low back to maintain you in an upright position all day and leads to strain and fatigue. An over-padded chair will not provide sufficient lumbar support.
- Make sure your chair rolls easily with little or no strain on your body. Five-spoked models are the safest.
- Make sure your chair provides proper arm support and that armrests do not extend out in front of the chair. Lack of proper arm support increases pressure on the lower back. If your chair has a lumbar support, the curved part of the support should be in the area right above your belt
- Chair should be in an upright position at 90 degrees.
- Set the height of your chair so that your thighs make a 90-degree angle with your lower legs, while your feet make a 90-degree angle with the floor.
- Use a footrest if your chair is too high for you. An inexpensive way to make a footrest is use a phone book or reams of paper.
Other office Equipment
- Position your monitor directly in front of you so that the top of the monitor is 1-2 inches above the top of your head when you are looking straight ahead. Use reams of paper or a phone book to position monitor if a stand is not available.
- Choosing the right chair with lumbar back support will lead to a healthier and more productive workspace. Choose a chair that moves freely in your work area and fits under desks and tables.
- Use lighting that fully lights your entire work area while not reflecting off the monitor screens.
- Make sure your computer and monitor fit on your desk properly so your screen can be read from a comfortable position.
- Keep items and equipment that you use most frequently within reach from your primary workstation.
- If you perform a lot of data entry, place reading material on a stand that is mounter on the side of the computer. If this is not available, then use a stand that raises the information closer to your viewing area without having the head bending down.
- Shoulders should be relaxed and not elevated. Stop fighting gravity and reduce strain by lowering shoulders.
- Keep elbows close to your body. Your arms should form a 90-degree angle where the top of the arm and forearm meet at the elbow.
- Wrist should be flat/straight to reduce the overuse of your muscles in front of the hand. This can commonly lead to Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Laptops are good for mobile use but very bad for ergonomics.
Make the laptop you screen and a wireless keyboard in your lap.
Ergonomics: In the house
The ergonomics of your home greatly affects your body and its overall health. Home economics is about making your home a more comfortable, efficient, and user-friendly living space. It’s about making educated choices that will improve the quality of life in every room of your home. Below are some tips to help you get started.
- Install a cushioned mat to stand on along the length of your kitchen where you spend the most time. This will be easier on your joints and lower back when standing for long periods.
- If you are going to be standing for extended periods of time in one spot, put one foot up on the lower cabinet shelf or for 5 minutes at a time and alternate left and right foot, to limit low back fatigue.
- Avoid round faucet knobs in all your sinks, which require repetitive and intricate twisting and turning of your wrists.
- Store your most used foods in your pantry and refrigerator between knee and eye-level.
- Choose a refrigerator that has a bottom-mounted freezer, which reduces the need to bend over when accessing the main body of the fridge.
The living room
- Avoid couches that are too low, which can make it difficult to get in and out of.
- Choose a couch with proper lumbar support. This will likely mean avoiding a couch that is too soft.
- If you have a deep couch, this can cause you to slouch and create poor posture. Put another firm cushion leaning against the back of this couch cushion to enable you to sit at a 90° angle.
- Avoid sitting in front of the television in a position where your neck is maintaining an upward tilt. This particular position is a favorite among children.
- When eating in front of the television, place food on a surface that is high enough to eliminate the need to bend over to eat.
- When sleeping, use a cervical pillow that supports the natural curve or neck.
- Use products that properly support your neck while reading or watching television in bed, to avoid being susceptible to what is commonly called “wry neck”. The effect is sharp pain in the neck muscles with a marked loss in neck mobility.
- Invest in a mattress that supports your spine without creating pressure points. It is easier to soften a firm mattress, then firm up a soft mattress. Example: buy a moderately firm mattress and go to any retail store and buy 2-inch foam top. Place on mattress to reduce stress if bed is too firm. If one person likes firm and the other likes soft, cut the foam in half and both are happy. If you have a soft bed, there is nothing that can firm it up except remove the pillow top. Avoid excessive pillow top mattresses that have a 3-5-inch thickness. These make your spine sag due to lack of support. A 1-2-inch thickness is acceptable.
- If sleeping on your back, use a thin pillow or no pillow to eliminate the head being bent forward. Place a pillow under the back of your legs to relax the low back muscles while you sleep. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow or towel between your legs to prevent the top leg rolling forward and twisting the low back and sacral joints. The pillow thickness must be enough to prevent your head from leaning down or being pushed up. You want to keep your spine in a straight line to reduce stress points and encourage restful sleep.
- Use bath and floor mats, which provide good traction to prevent slips and falls.
- Install hand bars also to prevent falls.
- Make sure bathroom sinks and shower heads are not too low, which can further irritate lower back and neck injuries.
- Fit all faucets in the house with a user-friendly variety in which low force is necessary to turn the water on and off. This keeps you from putting unnatural stress on your wrists, which can cause injury to wrist tendons.
ERGONOMICS: YOUR STUDENT LIFE
A student’s working environment begins at the school and extends to the home. In general, a student’s time is divided between attending classes and studying. Because students need to carry books and notebooks to and from class they are subjected to strains of the shoulders, arms and back. Problems associated with carrying books are most often found at the college and high school level where students may not have access to lockers for book storage.
Unlike a business office, which offers a permanent work environment that can be modified to suit the worker’s needs; students have to work under conditions in which they have little control. The use of proper ergonomics while studying will help ward off weariness and maximize mental clarity. So, whether you are the student or the parent of one, we have gathered a few ideas and insights that will make for a more ergonomically friendly student life.
Studying at home
- Reading should never be done in the prone position (on the stomach) because it will cause neck strain and hyperextension of the spine.
- Reading can be done in the supine position (on the back), if the trunk can be raised while maintaining the spine in a neutral position.
- Make time for physical activity, which will help to ward off stress and fatigue while studying.
The study station, library and/or at school
- When sitting, Place your back against the back of the chair. Do not sit on the front edge of the chair.
- Buy portable ergonomic products that are available to be used in a desk or study station. Such products can help to increase comfort and decrease lower back strain.
- Take frequent breaks when studying for a prolonged period to aid circulation and avoid back and neck problems.
Today our reliance on the automobile is unprecedented. The increased time we spend in our cars has led to an increase in the physical damage our bodies are enduring. When we drive, all the fundamentals of office ergonomics come into play. Just the act of placing our hands on the steering wheel puts stress on the shoulders and upper back. In addition, the two most significant contributors of neck pain while driving are insufficient headroom and inadequate seat positioning. The latter is in part due to car manufacturers recent concern with people’s comfort in cars. It is the postural design of the common car seat that has greatly contributed to the overall tension and fatigue for today’s commuters. So, what can you do to improve your driving experience? In addition to purchasing ergonomic products made for cars, we have gathered some ideas that will help make your car more ergo friendly.
For your back
- Choose a vehicle that sits high above the curb – an SUV instead of a sports car – if you already have a history of lower back problems. This will minimize pain as you get in and out of the car.
- Enter the car first by sitting down and then swinging your legs under the wheel. To leave your vehicle, slide the car seat back before swinging your legs out and planting your feet on the ground.
- Look for cars with automatic transmissions and power steering. These features lessen any twisting of the spine and strain to the lower back by eliminating the action of having to shift gears.
- Use a lumbar support cushion to relieve pressure on the lower lumbar discs and back muscles caused by the angle of the seat to seat back being 90 degrees or less.
- Add firm foam cushion to the seat to elevate your pelvis and compensate for any loss of rigidity or sagging of the seat caused by wear and tear.
For your neck and shoulders
- Avoid leaning forward when you sit in the driver’s seat, which places the head in a forward position.
- Position the car seat so that your arms are not fully extended, and your feet comfortably reach the foot pedals without having to stretch your legs.
- Make sure there is sufficient room between your head and the roof of the car, allowing you to maintain an erect seat position and for your head and neck to turn with ease.
- If your seats in the car has a lumbar support, the curved part of the support should be in the area right above your belt