Ergonomics forms an integral part of the computers-environment-society dynamic because the physical design of computing and its related work environment has significant public health implications. The US Occupational Health and Safety Administration estimates that at least one-third of all workplace injuries are musculo-skeletal disorders (according to the US Dept of Labor, these include afflictions of muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs). Many of these injuries come from computer work where, for example, the mouse is too far or the monitor is too low or the chair is improperly adjusted.

OSHA maintains an excellent resource on computers and public health, which is OSHA’s etools site. Take the ergonomic checklist to determine how ergonomic your computing environment is.

3 Responses to “Ergonomics”

  1. Hannah says:

    Yeah so I looked over the checklist and basically failed the tests…for one thing my
    upper arms and elbows were extending outward too far, always reaching for the keyboard
    and the mouse, wrists bent upwards, my feet don’t reach the floor haha, but the screen
    location and position was alright. No chair armrests so no potential for hazards there…
    it’s good that you brought it to our attention, though. Sometimes if you get into habits
    that you are unaware of, there are consequences, especially in the longrun…

  2. sieber says:

    The question is, if you failed the checklist in the workplace, would your employer feel compelled to fix things?

  3. Jean-Sebastien says:

    I have evaluated the ergonomy of the CS computer lab in Trottier, and I have to say that appart from the two following points it’s fairly ergonomic to me who is of ‘average size’, it might not be the same for smaller or bigger users.

    10. Backrest provides support for your lower back (lumbar area).
    11. Seat width and depth accommodate the specific user (seat pan not too big/small

    I think what could be improved is
    – getting better chairs (although the current one has adjustable height which is good).
    – A way to adjust the height of the screen. Although it is ergonomic for me, I can imagine it is not for sorter/taller user without disrupting another factor.
    – A way to adjust the height of the keyboard and mouse.

    But overall it is probably more ergonomic than working anywhere with my laptop, so I can spend long hours working in the lab safely :o)