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copyright@NIOSH 2005/1

Safety means

Implementing Ergonomics Principles at the Workplace


Define ergonomics 12 Principles of ergonomics that can be implemented at the workplace.

What is Ergonomics?
Derived from Greek words Ergon = work Nomos = law ERGONOMICS = STUDY OF WORKS LAWS

of human abilities and characteristics which affect the design of equipment, systems and jobs.

Goal of Ergonomics
- generate tolerable ,acceptable and optimal working conditions Aim of Ergonomics
All man made tools, devices, equipment, machines & environment should advance directly, the safety, well being and performance of humans.

[Part I - ll, Section 4 - 5] OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH Act 4.

4 (c) To promote an occupational environment for persons at work which is adapted to their physiological and psychological needs.

Twelve Principles of

12 principles of ergonomics

1. Work in neutral position. 2. Decrease excessive force 3. Keep everything in easy reach 4. Work at proper height 5. Decrease excessive motion 6. Minimize fatigue & static load


7. Minimize Pressure points. 8. Provide clearance 9. Move, exercise & stretch 10. Maintain a comfortable environment. 11. Make displays & controls understandable 12. improve work organization.

Principle 1 : Work in Neutral Postures

Your posture provides a good starting point for evaluating the task that you do. The best positions in which to work are those that keep the body in neutral.

P1 : Work in Neutral Postures

Maintain the S-Curve of the Spine whether standing or sitting

Standing-putting one foot up on footrest helps to keep the spinal column in proper alignment Sitting-lumbar support is helpful to maintain the natural curve of back Bending-using lifter or tilter to avoid bending at a lengthy time.

Lumbar support?

P1 : Work in Neutral Postures

Keep the Neck Aligned Prolonged twisted and bent postures of the neck can be as stressful as its equivalent for the lower back. adjust equipment so that your neck is in its neutral posture

P1 : Work in Neutral Postures

Keeps Elbows In and Shoulders Relaxed
Changing workstation to get arms in neutral position

Keep Wrists in Neutral

keep the hand in the same plane as the forearm
Using wrist rest along with computer mouse

applies to tool design

Pliers with angle grip

Principle 2: Reduce Excessive Force

Excessive force on your joints can create a potential for fatigue and injury. In practical terms, the action item is for you to identify specific instances of excessive force and think of ways to make improvements.

P2: Reduce Excessive Force

reduce grasping force where possible. minimize the arm force needed. keep loads as close to the body as possible. reduce pulling and pushing forces.

P2: Reduce Excessive Force

Pulling heavy cart Improvements:
Floor in good repair Wheels are sufficiently large Good grips on the cart

P2: Reduce Excessive Force

Hoist - lifting heavy objects Handholds on boxes reduce exertion on hands

Principle 3: Keep Everything in Easy Reach

This principle is redundant with posture, but it helps to evaluate a task from this specific perspective.

P3: Keep Everything in Easy Reach

"reach envelope." Things frequently use - ideally be within the reach envelope of your full arm. Things that is use extremely frequent within the reach envelope of your forearms.

Component arrangement before improvement

After improvement

P3: Keep Everything in Easy Reach

P3: Keep Everything in Easy

Reaching into boxes
good way to fix this is to tilt the box.

Point-figure out how to reduce making long reach.

P3: Keep Everything in Easy Reach

Principle 4: Work at Proper Heights

Do most work at elbow height
Rule of thumb - most work should be done at about elbow height, whether sitting or standing.

Examples Computer work, assembly work etc

P4: Work at Proper Heights

Exceptions to the Rule Heavy work - best done lower than elbow height where downward force is required for the task. Precision work / visually intense work - best done at heights above the elbow.

P4: Work at Proper Heights

Adjusting Height
extending the legs to a work tables or cutting them down work platform on top of the table (to raise the work up) or stand on a platform (to raise the worker up). Adjustable working table hand cranks / push button controls.

P4: Work at Proper Heights

Before improvement

After improvement

P4: Work at Proper Heights

Condition of tv display pallet before improvement

After improvement

Principle 5: Reduce Excessive Motions

simplest ways to reduce manual repetitions is to use power tools

P5: Reduce Excessive Motions Change layout of equipment to eliminate motions

Sliding the product in

P5: Reduce Excessive Motions

uneven surfaces or lips that are in the way

Principle 6 : Minimize Fatigue and Static Load

Holding the load at same position for a long period of time is known as static load. It creates fatigue and discomfort and can interfere with work.

P6 : Minimize Fatigue and Static Load

Example: having to hold parts and tools continually .Using a fixture eliminates the need to hold onto the part.

P6 : Minimize Fatigue and Static Load

P6 : Minimize Fatigue and Static Load

hold your arms overhead for a few minutes will affect the shoulder muscles. Sometimes orientation of the work area can be change to prevent this, or sometimes extenders are added to the tools.

Having to stand for a long time creates a static load on your legs. Having a footrest can permit you to reposition your legs and make it easier to stand.

Principle 7 Minimize Pressure Points

Another thing to watch out for is excessive pressure points, sometimes called "contact stress."

P7 : Minimize Pressure Points

A good examples of this is squeezing hard onto a tool:

A pair of pliers adding a cushioned grip and contouring the handles to fit your hand

P7 : Minimize Pressure Points

Leaning forearms against the hard edge of a work table creates a pressure points.

Rounding out the edge and padding it usually helps

P7 : Minimize Pressure Points

Seated position: - behind knees when chair is too high or when your dangle your legs. - between your thigh and bottom of the table Standing position: - a slightly more subtle kind of pressure points occurs when standing on a hard surface, like concrete. - heels and feet begin to hurt and whole legs can begin to tire.

Principle 8 Provide Clearance


enough clearance is a concept that is easy to relate to.

P8: Provide Clearance

Work Areas:
Work spaces must have adequate clearance for the users head, arms, knees, feet and body Eliminating barriers and obstruction between the worker and the items needed in the task The largest individuals who will use the work space determine the amount of clearance needed

P8: Provide Clearance

Being able to see: - Equipment should be built and tasks should be set up so nothing blocks your view

Principle 9 Move, Exercise, and Stretch


be healthy the human body needs to be exercised and stretched.

Depending upon the type of work you do, different exercises on the job can be helpful.

Physically demanding job: - stretch and warm up before any strenuous activity Sedentary job: - take a quick energy break every so often to do a few stretches. Sit for long periods: - Adjust the seat up and down throughout the day - Move, stretch and change position often

Principle 10 Maintain a Comfortable Environment

A good environment will aid people in achieving their objectives whilst retaining effort, stress and errors within tolerable limits

P10: Maintain a Comfortable Environment

Lighting and glare:

Lighting can have a considerable effect on both comfort and performance. - Excessive bright fluorescent and too little lighting can cause eye strain, especially when it creates glare

P10: Maintain a Comfortable Environment

How to solve lighting problems:

- By using task lighting: having a small light right at your work that you can orient and adjust to fit your needs

P10: Maintain a Comfortable Environment

Vibrating tools can be damped Excessive levels and durations of exposure to whole-body vibrations -- back pain and performance problems.

- Proper selection and usage of hand tools -- reduce the likelihood of developing work-related MSDs in the hands, wrists and arms.

P10: Maintain a Comfortable Environment

Is annoying sound that can inversely affect safety and performance Affect psychological responses Long run noise may result health impairment and contribute to stress at the workplace Prolonged exposure can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss

P10: Maintain a Comfortable Environment


Heat and cold can cause illnesses and injuries in the exposed individuals. Thermal changes can cause accidents (fire and explosion) and injury to people. Heat & cold stress major hazards reduces productivity

Principle 11 Make Displays and Controls Understandable

design of the humanmachine interface is of great importance for enhancing the operators productivity, safety, and wellbeing.
A proper

P11: Make Displays and Controls Understandable

Displays and controls are usually interrelated they should be: Designed to be compatible

Properly group together so that the relationship between each pair of displays and controls can be easily understood by the operator

Principle 12 Improve Work Organization

and participation of both employees and the management are two critical factors required for solving occupational problems.

P12: Improve Work Organization

Job rotation - A well designed rotation scheme can be especially helpful in reducing the risk of injury when working overtime at repetitive tasks. Job enlargement - Add meaningful variety to employees jobs, reducing their risk of injury while potentially improving their morale. - Combined tasks to make the work more interesting and varied - Combined VDT work with other tasks to increase productivity and other tasks to increase productivity and reduce fatigue

P12: Improve Work Organization


understanding of ergonomics principles and having good equipment available helps solve many problems.
design factors such as scheduling, job rotation, motivation and consultation can improve work organization by involving the management and the workers.


P12: Improve Work Organization


Staffing and scheduling Adjust scheduling to spread out highly repetitive task over a longer time, rather than letting a job wait until it requires lengthy repetitive work.

Rest breaks - Breaks at mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon is an important part of allowing employees time to recover from the demands, both mental and physical, of their jobs.

P12: Improve Work Organization


Encouraging workers involvement Involved them in planning process Solve work problems by involving workers in group. Involve workers in planning day-to-day work Consultation On improving working-time arrangements When there are changes in production or improvement are needed

P12: Improve Work Organization

Motivation - Rewards workers for their participation in improving productivity and the workplace. - Inform workers frequently about the results of their work. - Provide opportunities for workers to learn new skill.

Ergonomics is a science which, when applied effectively, can lead to marked improvements in working conditions.
Improvements can be made by properly designing or redesigning the way jobs are performed, the content of job tasks, the methods in which equipment is handled or set up, the way work schedules are set, the equipment used to perform a job and etc.

Positive changes in these areas or others can help to prevent injuries and illnesses -- physical or psychological caused by a lack of attention to ergonomic principles in the workplace.
Implementing ergonomic improvements does not have to be complicated or difficult. The union, workers and management should work together to assess priority problem areas and develops solutions.