Laptop Ergonomics: Tips You Need To Know

Laptop computers allow you to take computing wherever you go, however, certain ergonomic features are compromised for the sake of portability. Smaller keyboard spacing, reduced LCD screen size, limited screen positioning, and finger driven pointing devices usually require people to assume awkward postions.  Modifications can be made to create a proper laptop setup.  Here’s what you need to know:

Laptop Stand

Monitors

The relation of the keyboard to the monitor on a laptop is fixed.  Viewing laptop monitors placed on a desk or table requires users to lean forward and bend their neck downward to view the screen.  Prolonged bent postures can cause serious neck, shoulder, and back problems.  Proper ergonomic monitor setup positions the top of the monitor level with the user’s forehead for upright head posture.

  • Sit up straight and look straight ahead.  Using a laptop stand will allow you to position your monitor height at eye level according to your height and/or individual visual needs.

Keyboards

Laptop keyboards are often compact with odd placement of some keys and cramped spacing of others.  To prevent hand, wrist, and elbow pain –  do not use the small keyboard for prolonged periods.

  • Use an external keyboard.  Standard-size keyboards provide the appropriate space needed for relaxed comfortable hand postures.  You can easily plug a standard keyboard into the USB port into your laptop at the office, at home, or even your hotel.

Pointer Devices

Laptops typically have a touch pad or dot.   These devices are adequate for quick computer reference, but not comfortable for long periods of time.   Wrist, hand and finger related stress injuries can result from prolonged laptop pointer device use.

  • Use an external mouse.  Any kind of mouse will give you more hand movement and freedom to control your pointing device and will reduce cramping on your wrists, hands and fingers.

If you would like additonal information regarding your particular laptop setup, or discomfort issues you may be experiencing, please contact us and our Ergonomic Consultants can recommend the appropriate solutions for you.  Contact CESSI Ergonomics at 800-289-ERGO or via the contact form below.

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Posted in Commercial Ergonomics, Ergonomics, Home Office Ergonomics, Industrial Ergonomics, Office Ergonomics

Which Ergonomic Product Fits All Workers Regardless of Height, Stature, or Shape?

Answer:  ANTI-FATIGUE MATTING

Anti-Fatigue Mats

Quality ergonomic anti-fatigue matting is designed to ease the physical impact of standing tasks.  These mats improve the health of standing workers by stimulating lower body blood circulation helping to prevent leg cramps, back discomfort, and overall early day fatigue.

Sit-to-Stand Office Environments | Operating Rooms | Medical & Research Laboratories | Nursing Stations | Pharmaceutical Production Lines | Pharmacies | Packaging Lines | Inspection Stations | Return Goods Departments | Food and Beverage Plants | Restaurant Kitchen & Bar Areas | Automotive Production Lines | Mailrooms | Retail Shops Tradeshow Exhibit Booths | Sales and Marketing Kiosks | and more

It’s a New Year, with new budget dollars, so investing in quality anti-fatigue matting is a great way to help your employees health and well-being, provide additional safety precautions at your facility, and keep your year-after-year costs down.  Consider these four important qualities when choosing any anti-fatigue matting:

Great Ergonomics With Unbeatable Durability

  • Choosing the best ergonomic relief to workers, both short and long term, reduces employee absenteeism and sickness, reduces employee costs, increases productivity and increases earnings.
  • Make sure the anti-fatigue mats that you choose have a reputable warranty (3-8 years) and that they are made of only the most quality materials (ie:  Wet/Chemical Mats – 100% non-porous Nitril rubber, Dry/Retail Mats – 100% Polyurethane).  Resilience to wear and tear will also help employers replacements costs.

Industry / Environment Specific

  • Keep in mind there are many kinds of anti-fatigue matting with different properties to match your needs.  Be sure to take a look at all of the options so you can determine what makes the most sense for your particular application(s).  Some of the many Anti-Fatigue Mat characteristics available include:  Cleanroom, Anti-Static (ESD), Fire Retardant, Chemical Resistant, Anti-Slip, Cold Insulated, Auto-Clavable, and Shock-Absorbent for dry or wet environments.
  • Using the same kind of anti-fatigue mat across all applications will not serve you in the long run.  What works best in one area may not work very well in another, and will end up costing you more by having to replace the damaged mats that were either not high enough quality or not made of the appropriate materials for your application.

Customized Solutions

  • Anti-Fatigue Mats are available in many standard sizes but are also available in customized widths, lengths and shapes to match the exact dimensions of a work area.  Consider purchasing a one solid-piece mat to prevent tripping hazards.

Non-Curl Beveled Edges

  • Safety! Safety! Safety!  Look for anti-fatigue mats that have beveled edges on all sides and that the edges are made of the same material as the rest of the mat.  This prevents anti-fatigue mats from swelling, shrinking or curling and always remain flat against the ground once again eliminating trip hazards.  You will thank yourself and so will your employees.

antifatiguematthermalimage
This thermal photograph compares circulation in the lower body of a standing worker.
The image on the right shows the worker standing on an ERGOMAT anti-fatigue mat.
Red and yellow tones indicate higher skin temperatures resulting from
stimulated muscle activity and hence circulation in the legs and feet.
The image on the left shows circulation patterns without standing on the ERGOMAT.
Blues and greens in this image are evidence of poor circulation –
a reliable predictor of fatigue and muscle disorders.

Discuss your application characteristics and the above qualities with your Facilities Manager, Safety Manager, or Ergonomics Evaluator so they can help you select the best anti-fatigue mat that is most appropriate for your needs.

If you or anyone from your company needs any additional help, our Ergonomic Consultants are trained to understand the diversity of work environments and to help select which anti-fatigue mats will provide you with the best improvement in fatigue reduction while providing the best long term value.  If you are interested in scheduling a no obligation anti-fatigue mat trial evaluation contact us below.

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Posted in Ergonomics, Industrial Ergonomics, Uncategorized

Experiencing Discomfort at Work?

Is your body physically fatigued after working at your computer for long hours?  Do you get headaches from staring at your monitor for long periods of time?  Do you have wrist/hand tension from repetitively keying and mousing?  Do you have neck/shoulder or back/hip/leg discomfort from sitting all day?

THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO WORK!

Here at cessi:: ergonomics our professionals help individuals overcome these workplace issues.  For 20 years, our team of Certified Ergonomic Consultants have been identifying workplace challenges and providing recommendations for more comfortable workplaces.

What we’ve done to help others:

  • Assess the set-up of workplace components which can impact people’s level of comfort.
  • Discuss ways to help reduce symptoms of headaches, neck/back discomfort, wrist pain, vision issues and more.
  • Teach more appropriate seated or standing postures that provide safer work habits.
  • Recommend appropriate ergonomic solutions if ergonomic equipment is needed to modify workplaces.
  • Evaluate – we recommend evaluating ergonomic equipment – BEFORE it is purchased!

If you are experiencing workplace discomfort issues, we suggest talking to your department manager, human resources manager, or the person in your company who is responsible for occupational health, employee safety, or ergonomics – to discuss what can be done to resolve these challenges.  Our corporate & industrial clients often contract our services to work in conjunction with their efforts to provide safer workplaces.  An on-site or home office ergonomic assessment or online eValuation can help determine what the root causes of the discomfort issues are, then modifications and recommendations can be made, to help resolve your workplace discomfort issues.

For more information, please visit our website at www.cessi.com.

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Your Chair May Be Affecting Your Health

Your chair may be the #1 component in your work environment affecting your health (and comfort). 

Your chair should fit your body as well as your shoes fit your feet – especially when working long hours at the computer.  People perform better when they are comfortable.  Concentration levels are higher, tasks are completed more accurately, and people tend to develop a positive attitude about themselves and their work.  So, how do you know if your chair fits you correctly?

First of all, OSHA/ANSI 2007 established standards to provide guidelines for design & installation of computer workstations and furniture that will accommodate (and adjust to) a wide variety of users, and truely ‘ergonomic‘ chairs should have these minimum “fit to comfort” adjustments:

  • Back Rest Height
  • Back Rest Angle
  • Lumbar Support
  • Armrest Height, Pivot
  • Seat Height
  • Seat Depth
  • Seat Tilt
  • Seat and Back Tension Control

Take a look at your chair to see if it has all of the above adjustment capabilities.  With that in mind, then take a look at the size of your chair – as this is also very important.  Determine what size your chair is from the options below:

  • Big (over 300 lbs.) and Tall (over 6’2″) statured people need chairs with larger seats, stronger mechanisms, and “fit to comfort” adjustments.
  • Average (110-285 lbs and 5’2″-6’1″) statured people need chairs with a standard range of seat sizes, mechanisms, and “fit to comfort” adjustments.
  • Petite (under 110 lbs. and under 5’2″) statured people need chairs with smaller seats, lighter mechanisms, and “fit to comfort” adjustments.

If your chair is the right size and has all of the following “fit to comfort” adjustments, then please read more here about how to correctly adjust your chair and your other workstation equipment.

If your chair is too big, too small, or does not offer all the “fit to comfort” adjustment capabilities, then you can not adjust the chair to fit YOUR particular needs.  Sustaining poor postures due to ill-fitting chairs for prolonged periods can result in physical stressors that lead to fatigue, discomfort, and painful symptoms.  Strained body muscles, tendons, nerves and joints have to work harder – which results in tension, pressure, and possible injury.  Pain drags your energy levels down and is nature’s way of warning you that something is wrong!

The appropriate ergonomic chair, adjusted appropriately for your particular stature, can help reduce physical stressors, discomfort issues, and early day fatigue – and you will notice the difference almost immediately.

We here at cessi:: ergonomics care about the health and comfort of our clients’ and their employees and recommend that you also evaluate a new ergonomic chair – BEFORE you buy it.  Our ergonomic professionals can help you identify your stature and physical needs, define requirements of your work, and provide you with a demo/evaluation chair that fit’s correctly to your body’s stature.

For more information on our Evaluation Program, please give us a call.

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October is National Ergonomics Month

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) is an organization that has been focused on ergonomic engineering research and work-related health issues for over 50 years.  In 2003, the HFES designated October of every year to be National Ergonomics Month (NEM).  NEM is an opportunity to help raise awareness of human factors and ergonomics through grassroots, community-based activities at colleges and universities, high schools, and corporations.  Anyone and everyone is encouraged to get involved – educators, reporters, bloggers, students and community, industry, and government leaders – so that more people will understand the science, application, and profession of Human Factors and Ergonomics.

Here are few ways that you can get involved:

  • Request a speaker or NEM presentation materials.
  • Write an article for your local newspaper, newsletter, or Web site.
  • Organize an event at your office.
  • Volunteer to speak at a local school.
  • Prepare a community service project.
  • Submit your ideas to the NEM Best Action Plan Contest.

For more information on The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, please visit their website at www.hfes.org.
For more information on how you can get involved in National Ergonomics Month, please visit the NEM website here.

Posted in Ergonomics

Monitor Arms Can Make You Change The Way You See Your Work

ErgoEdge Tip:  The “ergonomically” correct way to view your monitor is to position your monitor so that the top 1/3 of the screen is at eye level, while you are sitting upright in your chair (unless you wear bi-focals or tri-focals – see note below).

Here are a few benefits of using a monitor arm:

Collaborate More Effectively

Make it easy to share. 
It’s easier to collaborate when you and your coworkers can easily see the monitor.  No matter where you are sitting or standing, your monitor can flex to the best possible viewing position to make your meeting more productive – up, down, right, left, landscape or portrait.

Make Your Desk Space Really Work

Transform the dead space behind a flat panel monitor into useable space. 
With a monitor arm, you can move your monitor out of the way when you’re not using it.  Take back your desk space when reading, writing, and proofing hardcopy documents so you can work on the area directly in front of you, rather than off to the side.

Increase Visual Comfort Effortlessly

Be comfortable all day. 
We all have our own preferences for monitor placement and viewing angles depending on our height, vision issues, and lighting around our workspace.  Look for a monitor arm that provides adjustment so you can change the height, depth, and tilt angle according to your needs.

Accommodate a variety of visual abilities.
The increased use of bifocals means that more people will be seeing their monitors from a new angle.  Ergonomists recommend placing monitors at a lower height – sometimes touching the worksurface for people who use the bottom portion of their lenses.  Monitor arms can accommodate these needs, unlike a fixed monitor.

Adjust Multiple Monitors in a Flash

Rig your space.
Dual monitor arms make arranging your multiple flat panel monitors easy to adjust in a parabolic arc for a comfortable viewing angle. Tilt for glare-free viewing angles and rotate from portrait to landscape orientation as needed.

There are many flat panel monitor arm selections and configurations out there in the market to meet your workspace needs.  If you have any specific application questions, please give us a call.

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