Ergonomics

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Preventing or minimizing injury involves studying both you and your job/task, and making sure that there is a good fit between the two.

If you need instructions on how to arrange your workstation, inquire with your supervisor before requesting an ergonomic evaluation.

Ergonomics Guidance

Computer Workstations

Graphic showing a figure of a person in the proper sitting and standing postures at a computer work station.

Illustration of a person in the proper sitting and standing postures at a computer work station

Sitting and Standing

  • Neutral neck, not bent forward or back
  • Upright posture
  • Elbows directly below shoulders; ≥90⁰ angles in elbows
  • Top of monitor(s) even with tops of eyebrows
  • Keyboard even with elbows
  • Neutral wrists (not bent back or forward), curvy fingers
  • Centered in front of keyboard (“J” key even with your midsection) and monitor(s)
  • Keyboard and mouse close enough that arms are not extended
  • Mouse next to keyboard, on same level

Sitting

  • Greater than or equal to 90⁰ angles in knees and hips
  • Feet flat on the floor or on a footboard
  • Room for a tennis ball/orange between backs of calves and edge of chair
  • Adequate lumbar support
  • Arms that do not get in the way of typing but are only rested on during breaks from typing

Lifting Safely

Back injuries can be very painful. They can affect everything you do, and can be a long-term or lifetime disability.

If you lift or move anything, follow these tips to lift safely:

Assess What You Are Lifting and Where Your Are Going

  • How far will you have to carry the load?
  • Is the way clear of clutter, cords, slippery areas, overhangs, stairs, curbs, or uneven surfaces?
  • Are there handles or places on the load to hold it easily? Is it a standard shape or is it irregularly shaped? If it’s an irregular shape, can you put it in a box or bin that is easier to carry?
  • Will there be doors that are closed?
  • Once you pick up the load, will you be able to see over it?
  • Can the load be disassembled, carried in pieces, then reassembled?
  • Can you lift and move this by yourself? Do you need help? Can you use a cart or hand truck?
  • Are there tools/devices available to help, and do you know how to use them?

Pick Up the Load

  • If you are doing a two-person lift, communicate when you lift, move and place the load!
  • Start the lift by putting your feet close to the object. Get a firm footing.
  • Center your body over your feet.
  • Avoid lifting over your head, if possible.
  • Squat down like a professional weightlifter, bending your knees. Keep your back straight or slightly arched. Your legs should do the lifting, not your back!
sequence showing proper lifting starting on one knee.

Example #1 of a proper lifting technique 

sequence showing proper lifting starting wtih knees bent.

Example #2 of a proper lifting technique

Carrying the Load

  • Keep the load as close to you as possible.
  • Keep the load between your shoulders and knees, your “Power Zone”.
  • Use your feet to change directions, never twist your back.
  • Keep your head up and look straight ahead, not down.
  • Keep your back straight or slightly arched.
  • Beware of stairs, obstacles and uneven floors!
  • When using a cart, push rather than pull. Secure the load to the cart

Putting the Load Down

  • Opposite of lifting the load
  • Position yourself where you want to set the load.
  • Squat down. Let your legs to do the work, not your back.
  • Do not twist your body while setting down a load, and keep your head up.
  • Once the load is where you want it, release your grip. Do not release your grip on a load until it is secure.
  • If someone is helping you, coordinate putting the load down.

Ergonomic Links

Industry Standards

Contact an Expert

head shot of Carol Schmeidler Manager, General Safety & Industrial Hygiene Programs.

Carol Schmeidler, MS, CSP

Manager, General Safety & Industrial Hygiene Programs

Environment, Health & Safety

Phone: 716-829-5833

Email: cbs2@buffalo.edu

Kelly Haidar.

Kelly Haidar

Safety, Health & Environmental Specialist

Environment, Health & Safety

Phone: 716-829-5834

Email: khaidar@buffalo.edu

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