Workplace Ergonomics

Collage showing workers in various positions

[By definition] Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between workers and their work environment.

We cover general workplace ergonomics below and provide more detailed information on the following specific areas of ergonomics:

OFFICE
ERGONOMICS

The main goal of office ergonomics is to setup your office space so that it fits you and the work you are doing.

Having a proper workstation setup can alleviate symptoms and prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

INDUSTRIAL / COMMERCIAL ERGONOMICS

The issue of ergonomics is prevalent in almost all workplaces including industrial and commercial workplaces.

We cover the major industries by providing access to industry-specific ergonomic resources.

The aim of ergonomics is to match the job to the worker –
to reduce the strain placed on the tissues and to prevent injury.

Exclamation mark icon

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common type of workplace injury in Ontario workplaces.

It is crucial to control the hazards that could leads to MSDs.

The main goal of occupational ergonomics is to establish your workspace so that it fits you and the job you are doing.

The benefits of having the workspace set up correctly are:

Reduced neck and back pain

Headaches and eyestrain are less likely to effect you

Issues such as bursitis and tendonitis may be prevented.

The issues above can all be linked to the repetition of tasks.

Accidents in the Workplace are one of the main causes of illness and injury that affect most Canadians.
Both have the potential of influencing your job performance.

Factors that cause injuries in the workplace are:

Trips and Falls

Repetitive Movements
The result of this is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

Posture

Material Handling
(Lifting, Lowering, Pushing, Pulling)

Vibration

Ergonomics can assist in creating a more comfortable workstation thus reducing stress and injury.
The main focus areas to set up your work space are:

ergo_workstation_setup_icon@3x

Workstation Setup
(how you sit and how long you stay sitting or in a fixed position)

ergo_repetitive_movements_icon

Task Performance
(the movements made, and the repetition of those movements)

ergo_physical_enviro_icon@3x

Physical Environment
(including lighting, noise and temperature)

ergo_tools_equipment_icon

Tools and Equipment
(whether they are set up correctly to meet your requirements)

TOOLS and CALCULATORS

Learn more about our Ergonomic Tools and Calculators

REFERENCES

The following references were used in the creation of these tools:

McAtamney, L., & Corlett, E. N. (1993). RULA: a survey method for the investigation of work-related upper limb disorders. Applied ergonomics, 24(2), 91-99.

Waters, T. R., Putz-Anderson, V., Garg, A., & Fine, L. J. (1993). Revised NIOSH equation for the design and evaluation of manual lifting tasks. Ergonomics, 36(7), 749-776.

Steven Moore, J., & Garg, A. (1995). The strain index: a proposed method to analyze jobs for risk of distal upper extremity disorders. American Industrial Hygiene Association, 56(5), 443-458.

Potvin, J. R. (2012). Predicting maximum acceptable efforts for repetitive tasks an equation based on duty cycle. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 54(2), 175-188.

Rohmert, W. (1973). Problems of determination of rest allowances Part 2: Determining rest allowances in different human tasks. Applied Ergonomics, 4(3), 158-162.

Sonne, M., Villalta, D. L., & Andrews, D. M. (2012). Development and evaluation of an office ergonomic risk checklist: ROSA–Rapid office strain assessment. Applied ergonomics, 43(1), 98-108.

WORKING FROM HOME

Given the new normal of businesses and government striving to maintain services while reinforcing critical physical distancing,
more and more Ontarians are working from home.

OHCOW ergonomists offer a few tips in the following documents on taking the time to set up a proper workstation
to improve health, safety, and even productivity, which is better for everyone.

Setting up Your Home Workstation

Home workstations warrant as much care and attention as in an office, particularly if used more than occasionally ( 1 day/week).

View PDF button

Ergonomic Tips for Working From Home in Ontario
During COVID 19

Recent webinar, in partnership with the Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC)

View video button

ErgoTools

Provide an abundance of information and guidance, including videos, on fitting your workstation to you, instead of contorting yourself to fit it, or alternatively, roaming around with a laptop.

If none of that helps, don’t hesitate to contact the Clinic nearest you to set up a phone or virtual consultation.

VIDEOS

OHCOW has a vast library of videos (including recorded webinars) related to workplace ergonomics.

A sample of these videos are shown below:

Fork Lift Promo

Fork Lift Seat Adjustments

Fork Lift Exercises

Operating Heavy Equipment

Heavy Equipment Seat Adjustment

Heavy Equipment Exercises

Ergonomic Tips for Temporary Home Workstations
– Three Months Later –

COVID-19 Workplace Ergonomics

Ergonomic Tips for Working From Home

MANUAL MATERIAL HANDLING (MMH)

Manual Material Handling (MMH) is an important component of workplace ergonomics
as many of the actions involved can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).

Manual material handling refers to the moving or handling of objects by:

Icon showing a figure lifting or lowering a box

Lifting or Lowering

Icon showing a figure pushing and pulling an object

Pushing or Pulling

Icon showing a figure walking while carrying an object

Carrying

Icon depicting the action of holding or gripping and object

Holding or Gripping

Manual material handling is also the most common cause of occupational fatigue, low back pain and lower back injuries.

The following resources are related to manual material handling:

Physical Demands Description

A document used by employers to objectively capture and describe the physical demands that are required to perform a particular job or role.
A PDD can be used by a wide range of individuals within different organizations.

VIEW PDD HANDBOOK
VIEW PDD TEMPLATE

NIOSH Lifting Equation

An Online Tool for Calculating Recommended Weight Limit (RWL)

VIEW ONLINE TOOL
(on the CCOHS website)

Ergonomics and Manual Materials Handling

A Presentation by OHCOW Ergonomist, Melissa Statham, MHK, CCPE

VIEW PRESENTATION

INTERNATIONAL REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY DAY

February 29th

February 28th in non-leap years

The ideal “non-repetitive” date to devote to raising awareness of repetitive strain injuries.

Workplace injuries such as repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s) affect 15% or over 5 million Canadians.
To increase awareness of these issues, the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) participates in this annual day with special events and offerings.

GLOBAL ERGONOMICS MONTH

October

A month-long initiative held annually to raise awareness of ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) hazards in workplaces

Celebrated in October each year, Global Ergonomics Month is an international outreach campaign promoting human-centred design through the science, application and profession of ergonomics or human factors.

View all our ergonomic-related posts here:

OHCOW ERGONOMIC SERVICES

At the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), our Ergonomists take pride in ensuring that workers are working safely and effectively.

Our goal is to identify these risks and to educate workers by means of:

ergo_assessments@2x

Assessments

ergo_presentations@2x

Presentations

ergo_inquiries@2x

Inquiries

ergo_resources@2x

Resources

We have served a wide-range of clients from:

Young woman studying at home on a laptop and looking at the camera smiling

Workers

Warehouse manager and workers standing together with workplace in background.

Workplaces

Tired manual worker with closed eyes sitting on stack of wooden plank and massaging lower back while feeling pain in back

Patients
(injured/ill workers)

Business people discussion advisor concept

Advocates and Professionals

Photo of a person making a presentation to a group of workers

Health and Safety Representatives
and Committees

We provide ergonomic resources and tools to increase knowledge among workers, employers, and the general public.

We offer the provision of services designed to:
•   produce changes   •   improve the workplace   •   ensure the health of workers.

Need help with your workplace ergonomic assessment?

Contact OHCOW today to arrange for your personalized  or group ergonomic assessment.

Currently assessments are being conducted using remote, virtual technologies.