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Ergonomics Assessments for your Workplace

Ergonomics Assessments for your Workplace

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Assessments for your Workplace

What is an ergonomics assessment for?

An ergonomics assessment (sometimes referred to as workstation assessments) is designed to lower risk of injury and improve employee productivity by ensuring that a worker’s workspace is ergonomically sound. This assessment can be done at multiple locations, from offices to industrial warehouses to in-home work stations.

Whether you are an employer, administrator, or employee, it is vital to ensure that your environment is ergonomically friendly and meets certain standards (for example, standards set by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)).

Below are a few effective assessment models that may benefit your workstation.

Office Ergonomics Onsite Evaluations

Individual office workstation evaluations are completed using an effective ergonomics assessment model and a structured interview process to gather information.

A well-tailored office evaluation model should include:

·         Basic ergonomics education and educational materials to look over

·         Measurements of the space

·         A report with all findings and recommendations should be generated

·         An objective risk factor assessment should be completed

·         A discomfort survey should be administered

·         An option to follow ups when requested

Virtual Ergonomics Evaluations

Evaluations are typically completed onsite, but virtual ergonomics evaluations are also an option. Virtual evaluations can save you money on travel, out-of-pocket costs, and time.

What you should expect from the virtual ergonomics evaluation process:

·         Digital instructions (either e-mailed or made available online)

·         Assessment via telephone for real-time communication

·         E-mailing photos and measurements to your consultant

·         Employee contact by telephone for the assessment

·         A generated report that is no different than an onsite report

·         Options for follow up discussion when requested

Office Ergonomics Mini Assessments

Mini assessments are short assessments that generally take about 20-30 minutes each. They are conducted at the person’s work area. This is a good option if you do not need a formal report and need to save time and money. It is recommended employees take the one hour ergonomics training course prior to the mini assessments.

Benefits of Office Ergonomics Mini Assessments:

·         You save money, as 2-3 can be done in an hour

·         You can get workable solutions quicker for your staff

·         There is less disruption in the workplace

·         It takes less time, so there is less impact on productivity

Industrial Evaluations

Evaluations for industrial, manufacturing and other non-office type jobs are designed to determine the frequency, duration and intensity of jobs/tasks that may contribute to, or create, ergonomics risk factors.

Your ergonomics consultant should make use of published and commonly used tools and, where applicable, your consultant must follow state standards and guidelines, to minimize existing ergonomics risk factors.

An ergonomics assessment specialist should use a structured process to identify practical and realistic interventions to solve problems and eliminate ergonomics risks factors through engineering, administrative and/or work practice controls.

The following work spaces would benefit from an industrial evaluation: libraries, fishing and transportation vessels, transportation vehicles (bus, car, truck, rail), educational facilities, municipalities, nursing homes, retail, hotels, school districts, restaurants, semi-conductor industries, manufacturers, hospitals/clinics, logging operations, and more.

In Conclusion

As with any work place systems, it is important to do due diligence in finding an ergonomics consultant that best fits your workstation needs. Be sure to consult the proper experts for assistance and remain proactive about learning and establishing best practices.

For an ergonomics consultation, visit or Contact Us for more detailed information.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

We Are Speaking at the 2017 IARP WA Annual Spring Conference

Janet DeLapp, MS, CPE, CDMS, CPDM, and Sara Schmitz, MS, CRC, CPDM, CEOE will be presenting “Ergonomics of Sit-Stand Stations and Job Accommodations”. John DeLapp will also be attending. See you there!


Why Shower Grab Bars are for Everyone-Prevent Slip and Fall Injuries

Why Shower Grab Bars are for Everyone-Prevent Slip and Fall Injuries

Shower Grab Bars Ergonomics

By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Solutions Northwest, Inc. – San Diego, California

I used to think grab bars in the shower were just for the elderly and disabled. I’ve changed my mind. Grab bars are a good idea to have in every shower. The number of pro athletes who have been injured by falling in the shower goes to show that even if you are in peak physical condition, it can happen to you.

Reds’ Raisel Iglesias injured back and elbow in shower |

Falcons’ Tevin Coleman is in the league’s concussion protocol. The rookie third-round pick slipped in the shower Wednesday at the team facility.

Dolphins’ Laremy Tunsil’s ankle injury caused by slipping in shower

That’s not even a complete list of all the pro players who have been injured by slip and fall accidents in the shower.

When we first bought our house, we did some major remodeling. One thing I wanted to do was take out the institutional looking grab bars in the guest bathroom’s shower. The contractors told me I would have to re-tile the entire bathroom to do it, so I decided to leave the grab bars in there for now and just put up a shower curtain. Below is a picture. Architectural Digest, it is not.

As I lived with this grab bar situation, I realized that while it was not attractive, it had some perks. I could hang a wash cloth on it like a towel bar. I could put a bottle of dog shampoo on the bottom bar while my dog was wiggling around and trying to escape. If I started to slip in the shower, I could grab it to stop a fall. If I did fall, I could pull myself back up with it. If I wanted to stay in this house as I age, like the Age In Place movement promotes, it’s a smart idea.

I started thinking that I liked having grab bars in showers, I just didn’t like how the grab bars in my shower looked. Manufacturers must have caught on that people like me wanted attractive grab bars, because there are great options available now. Many new models of grab bars look like towel bars, shelves, and shower door handles. They come in finishes to match existing bathroom fixtures such as chrome, nickel, and ORB. They look nothing like the institutional grab bars which are in my shower.

Here are links to attractive grab bars:

Moen Grab Bars

Delta Grab Bars

Kohler Grab Bars

With new grab bar designs, a safe shower can look like it came from the pages of House Beautiful. There are other safety considerations such as the best way to install grab bars and the slip resistance rating of tiles, but I’ll save that for another day.

P.S. The funniest sports injury I came across while researching for this article was from Steve the Ump’s List of Strange Sports Injuries. “Red Sox rookie Clarence Blethen thought he looked older and meaner if he took his false teeth out when he pitched. He forgot to put them back in his mouth when he was batting. While sliding into second base to break up a double play, his own teeth bit himself in the butt.”

For more guidance on all things Ergonomics, visit or Contact Us for more information.

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