If you’ve ever had a team of ergonomists visit your office, you’ve probably noticed a distinct theme. They all tend to carry an ergonomic checklist. That’s a good thing, as your office ergonomist needs to be as thorough as possible as they evaluate your workspace. That is to ensure that no ergonomic stone goes unturned. But an ergonomic checklist is only good if it measures the right things. As such, ergonomists often have to recalibrate their approach to suit the changing needs of the workplace. Whether you have an ergonomist come and evaluate your office space, or decide to conduct your own audit, referring to OSHA’s Computer Workstations eTool offers a complete printable checklist evaluation to make sure every aspect of your workstation is compliant with ergonomic principles.
Principles Your Checklist Should Include
While sitting, some of the things to keep in mind are:
- The head should be in line atop the shoulders.
- Sit up straight with the shoulders relaxed.
- The screen should be at eye level or just below.
- The arms are at a 90 degree bend while typing.
- The mouse or input device is placed right next to the keyboard to avoid reaching.
- The legs are at a 90 degree bend.
- Feet are flat against the floor.
While standing, some of the things to keep in mind are:
- The head is in line with the shoulders, hips, and feet.
- Weight is equally distributed on both feet.
To view the full printable checklist evaluation from OSHA’s Computer Workstations eTool, click here.
If you’re thinking of running your own ergonomic evaluation of your office space, here are two important principles to keep in mind:
- Reliability. It’s important that you repeat your ergonomic checks on a regular basis to ensure that issues and fixes stay consistent. Something that’s a problem one day may not be a problem the next day. Therefore, you’ve got to be sure you can replicate the problem as you’re implementing your solutions.
- Validity. More than anything, ergonomists tend to focus on particularly high risk jobs, defined as those with a high rate of causing musculoskeletal disorders. For an everyday ergonomist like you, identifying these roles is key to providing some kind of intervention. However, with a limited budget, it’s important to make sure these outliers are addressed. To ensure the validity of your diagnosis, keep detailed records of RSIs and other musculoskeletal injuries across your workforce so you can get a more accurate look at where the real problems lie.
If you’re interested in really making sure you’re targeting the right ergonomic issues, we highly recommend reading this excellent article from ErgoWeb, MSD Checklist Reliability and Validity for Ergonomic Practitioners. Even if you’re just an amateur ergonomist, there’s a lot to be gleaned. Good luck!