Ergonomics is the study of the working environment, from the type of industry to the tools used to complete your required tasks.

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

The benefits of having the office space set up correctly are:

• Reduced back and neck pain

• Headaches and eyestrain are less likely to effect you

• Prevention of bursitis and tendonitis  – both problems are linked to the repetition of tasks.

Office ergonomics can assist in creating a more comfortable work station thus reducing stress and injury.

The main focus areas to set up your office work space are:

• Workstation setup (i.e. how you sit and how long you stay sitting or in a fixed position).

• Task functions (i.e. the movements made, and the repetition of those movements).

• Work environment (i.e. lighting, noise and temperature).

• Tools used (i.e. whether they are set up correctly to meet your requirements).

The following tools and resources are provided to help you with your office workstation setup:

Office Ergonomics Reference Guide

Updated for the modern office, new technologies and home office situation

Snapshot of the navigation strip from OHCOW's Office Ergonomics Reference Guide

Now available ONLINE and as a downloadable PDF


Learn more about our Ergonomic Tools and Calculators


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.

Additional Office Ergonomic Resources

Economics of Ergonomics

A presentation made by Trevor Schell at RSI Day 2018

View Presentation

Ergonomics Committee Workbook

Set up and run an Ergonomics Committee in your workplace using the practical information in this workbook.

View Workbook

Office Ergonomics Sample Checklist

Download Checklist
[MSWord Document]

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 Materials Handling (MMH) refers to the moving or handling of items 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


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.

PDD Handbook [PDF]
PDD Template [docx]

NIOSH Lifting Equation

An Online Tool for Calculating Recommended Weight Limit (RWL)

Online Tool
(on the CCOHS website)

Ergonomics and Manual Materials Handling

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

View Presentation