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Lab. Ergonomics Stressors

Biosafety Cabinets/Fume Hoods

Laboratory workbench




Pipetting Safety
Ergonomics Stressors

Biosafety Cabinets/Fume Hoods

Working in Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC's) or fume hoods requires laboratory personnel to assume a variety of awkward postures due to limited work access, which restrict arm movement, and therefore significantly increase the amount of stress on joints of the upper limbs, neck and back, Hence exposure to a variety of ergonomic risk factors.

Associated Risk Factors:
  • Repetitive motions of the hands, wrist, and forearms, especially when pipetting is involved.
  • Constrained knee and leg space, especially in fume hoods and older BSC's.
  • Contact pressure on the forearms, wrists and knees, or legs.
  • Awkward and static posture of the neck, torso, legs, arms and wrists.
  • Constrained body position, overloading muscles, tendons, and joints in asymmetrical manner.
  • Working with elbows winged.
  • Overreaching.
  • Prolonged standing in unnatural positions or in restricted postures.
Preventive Measures:

  • Prevent extended reaching, place materials as close as possible (see graphic above).
  • Perform your work at least 6" back into the hood or BSC to maintain optimal airflow containment for material and personal protection.
  • Always assume a proper posture. Use only adjustable chair or stool with built-in foot and armrest.
  • Avoid contact pressure (forearm and wrists contact with sharp edges).   Apply foam padding to the front sharp edge of the fume hood/BSC to reduce pressure concentration.
  • If you perform work in a fume hood or BSC while standing for prolonged periods of time, use an anti-fatigue mat and footrest to reduce muscle, joint, and spinal fatigue.
  • Take short breaks to alter repetitive forearm and wrist motion, relieve joint pressure and contact pressure caused by sharp edges.
  • Reduce eye strain and awkward posture by keeping viewing window of hood/BSC clean, and line of sight unobstructed.
  • Make sure hood/BSC lighting is working properly, good and proper lighting help reduces eyestrain.
  • Raise cabinet couple inches upwards to create a more comfortable leg and thigh clearance.
  • Purchase only ergonomically designed equipment and furniture.

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