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Office Ergonomics

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Workstation Discomfort Symptoms and Solutions

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U of M Computer Accommodation Program (CAP)

VistaLab Ergonomics

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Office Ergonomics

With the increased use of personal computers at home and at the office, UMD has experienced a new trend of computer/office workstation-related complaints, most of which are induced by poor work habits, poor workstation design and highly repetitive "keying and mousing".

Common Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD) risk factors found in offices include:

  • Awkward position and posture.
  • Chronic/continuous repetition.
  • Excessive pressure/force.

Complaints/Symptoms:

  • Headaches, general malaise
  • Eyestrain, dry or sore eyes
  • Back pain and/or fatigue
  • Stiffness and soreness in the neck
  • Wrist and hand pain
  • Stiffness and soreness of shoulder
  • Pain, soreness of the elbow
  • Discomfort or pain in the knees
  • Hips and low back pain
Some of the symptoms may be aggravated by few off-the job activities. However, investigations of the complaints confirmed that most are workstation-related.   Additionally, the discomfort, soreness, and fatigue occur whenever there is a combination of excessive force or pressure on the joints and muscles of the upper extremities, highly repetitive tasks, and poor work habits such as improper sitting (slouching) or awkward position of the back, arms, wrists, neck, and legs etc.

As discussed above, the following are some of the contributing factors or root causes of musculoskeletal discomfort symptoms:

Contributing Factors:

  • Inadequate lighting and direct glare.
  • Repetitive hand and arm motion.
  • Sitting or standing for long periods.
  • No breaks for long periods of time.
  • Non-adjustable workstation and chair
  • Bending or flexing wrists while typing
  • Bending neck forward or backward while looking at monitor.
  • Bent neck sidewise while on the phone.
  • Work surfaces with sharp edges.
  • Inadequate leg space.
  • No or inadequate armrest.
  • Working with elbows far from the body.
Solutions:

Two types of solutions or avenues available:
Get our office involved (see directions in our Occupational Ergonomics Program Front Page).

Do it yourself and improve your working conditions.

Correct Posture

Correct Posture

Awkward Posture

Awkward posture




The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports in a new study
that short, strategically spaced rest breaks can reduce eyestrain and musculoskeletal discomforts for video display terminal operators without decreasing productivity..


bent or flexed wrist/ Hard Surface Contact

Bent Wrist
Hard Surface Contact

Winged Elbows

Winged Elbows
     
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