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Fundamental Ergonomic Principles

Basic ergonomic principles can help you identify ergonomic risk factors and improve your safety record.

Maintain neutral posture

When sitting and standing, maintain a posture that aligns and balances the body, minimizing stress on the body and keeping joints aligned. A neutral posture minimizes stress on muscles, tendons, nerves and bones and allows for maximum control and force production.

Work in the power zone

The power zone for lifting is near the body, between mid-thigh and mid- chest height. This is where the arms and back can lift the most weight with the least amount of effort.

In this way, you minimize excessive reach and maintain a neutral posture.

Allow for movement and stretching

Working in a static position for a long time causes fatigue. Stretching reduces fatigue, improves balance, posture, and coordination. Perform warm-up stretching to prepare the body for work. Take regular stretching breaks during the workday get the blood moving and re-energise.

Reduce excessive force

Excessive force is a major ergonomic risk factor. Recognize when a job or task requires excessive force and look for ways to reduce it through the use of mechanical aids, counterbalance systems, height-adjustable lift tables and workstations, power equipment, and ergonomic tools.

Reduce excessive motions

Repetitive motions are another major ergonomic risk factor. Many work tasks and sequences are repetitive and are often dictated by production goals and work processes. Reduce excessive or unnecessary movements. If this is not possible, avoid excessive force and awkward postures.

Minimize contact stress

Contact stress results from constant contact or friction between hard or sharp objects and sensitive body tissues such as fingers, palms, thighs, and feet. This creates localized pressure in a small area that can inhibit blood flow, nerve function, or tendon and muscle movement.

Reduce excessive vibration

Regular and frequent exposure to vibration can lead to long-term health consequences, which are most likely to occur when contact with a vibrating tool or work process is a regular and essential part of a person's job.

Provide adequate lighting

Poor lighting can affect well-being and performance. Both too much and too little light make work difficult. A simple solution to lighting problems is adjustable task lighting. Make sure the screen is not blinding and the monitor is not in front of a window or bright background.

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