There are several resources available for people who want to perform their own ergonomic assessment. You can choose from a variety of tools, such as an ergonomic checklist, tips and instruction guides, and other ergonomic products. The resources you choose should be based on how thorough you want the assessment to be. Keep in mind that workplace comfort, injury prevention, and productivity are the primary goals of an ergonomic assessment.
Ergonomic checklists are incredibly valuable tools for performing an ergonomic assessment. Find a checklist that corresponds to your work environment. It should provide you with specific suggestions and hazards to look for. You may even find recommended solutions to common ergonomic problems in your industry.
The first thing you should evaluate is the work station. This is the area in which the employee spends a majority of his or her time. All tools that are repeatedly used should be within easy reach of the employee. This will prevent muscle strain from constant stretching and reaching. A headset is one example of equipment that can free up the employee's hands while the employee is taking or making phone calls.
If a computer is part of the work station, there are a few important things to look for during the ergonomic assessment. The top of the monitor should be at eye level. This will prevent neck strain and injury. The monitor should remain at least 20 inches (about 51 cm) from the employee's eyes in order to prevent eye strain. Any documents that need to be repeatedly referenced while typing should be positioned to minimize head movement.
Employee posture is also very important to consider. If you are performing an ergonomic assessment in an office, make sure that the employee's wrists remain flat while typing to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Shoulders should be relaxed, with upper arms parallel to the torso. The elbows, hips, and knees should remain at about 90-degree angles, with feet flat on the floor.
Ergonomic assessment of workplace furniture is critical, especially in an office environment where employees sometimes spend hours in the same position. Desk chairs should have adjustable settings to meet individual needs. Make sure the keyboard is adjustable for different height requirements and that all equipment is available to make the work space comfortable.
You can hire an ergonomic specialist to help you perform an ergonomic assessment. You can find certified, fully trained ergonomic consultants who will work with you to pinpoint problematic work environments. They are also useful in helping you find the best solution for every employee and employer.