Environmental Health and Safety Office 

Ergonomic Assessment

Office Ergonomics

Laboratory Ergonomics

Workstation Discomfort Symptoms and Solutions

Workstation Checklist


Assessment Request

Symptom Survey

Workstation Survey

Lab. Ergonomics Stressors

Biosafety Cabinets/FumeHoods

Laboratory workbench




U of M Computer Accommodation Program (CAP)

OSHA Ergo.Standard

MN-OSHA Ergo Task Force

NIOSH Ergo. Resources

Laboratory Workbenches

When used inappropriately, laboratory workbenches can expose researchers to a variety of hazardous conditions or ergonomic risk factors depending on the laboratory procedure being used. Most workbenches at the University are of fixed heights and cannot be modified (raised or lowered).  In general they are the same height and were designed for light to slightly heavy work.  Using a laboratory workbench as a computer workstation is an example of inappropriate use, since it forces the worker to assume a awkward postures and would increase the likelihood of acquiring MSD

Associated Risk Factors:

  • workbench height is above elbow height, between 37and 43 inches, use for precision work.
  • If workbench height is just below elbow height, between 34 and 37 inches, use for light work.
  • If workbench height is below elbow, between 28 and 35 inches, use for heavy work.

Preventive Measures:

  • Always assume proper sitting or standing neutral posture.
  • When sitting, use only adjustable stool or chair with built-in foot and arm rest to insure lower back, thigh, and feet support.
  • If leg clearance is not available, workbench must not be used for work requiring using a stool. Otherwise, create leg room under the bench by removing drawers.
  • When standing for extended periods of time, use anti-fatigue mats and a foot rest to reduce joint strain and muscle fatigue.
  • Remove drawers, supplies and other materials underneath workbenches to provide leg room.
  • Take frequent small breaks to alter repetition, body awkward posture, and muscle static work
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