By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Ergonomics is the study of the interaction between human beings, their work, the tools they use and the environment in which they function.
It is concerning that some manufacturers of sit/stand products market their devices as a solution to all ergonomics related risk factors. While many of these are good products, the danger is that these products by themselves are incapable of solving all ergonomics related risk factors.
Besides the danger of ignoring some of the existing risk factors, there are also new risk factors which present themselves when workers have the ability to adjust their keyboard surface to wherever they would like. Risk factors such as standing too long, leaning on the desk, and adjusting the desk too high or low are some of the new issues which can come about.
Addressing all risk factors and educating the employee on ergonomics is a key component of our job when we go out and do ergonomic evaluations. A sit/stand workstation by itself cannot take the place of addressing all risk factors and educating employees.
Let’s look at a funny example of what I’m talking about. I have no idea what this guy is doing at a little kid’s table on a laptop. Who knows what the situation is, but let’s try to fix this.OK, so according to some of the sit/stand device manufacturers, let’s give him a sit/stand desk as his only solution. That would be helpful, but does that solve all his problems? No. He still has a hard tiny chair and just has a laptop to work on with no mouse. The chair will cause issues and the laptop will cause laptop hunch. Maybe he continues to sit in the chair rotating his spine. Maybe he adjusts the desk too high or too low and causes wrist/arm compression or wrist extension. Maybe he stands too long. Maybe he leans on the desk. All sorts of things could go wrong here.
So, the best solution would be to address all the risk factors in the beginning, provide the proper equipment, and educate the employee on what he is supposed to be doing and why.
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