Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist

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Practical Home Office Ergonomics Dan Robinson Ph.D. CCPE Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist www.robinsonergonomics.com

Musculoskeletal Injury or “MSI” Soft tissue injury or disorder caused or aggravated by work Also called MSD, RSI, ASTD Computer-based work: - usually gradual onset MSI - upper extremities, back, neck most at risk

Degenerative MSI Progression - Gradual onset - Early symptom recognition - Have symptoms? Change something - If severe or persistent Ask for help STAGE 0 - No Symptoms - Healthy STAGE 1 - Aching and fatigue - Rest helps STAGE 2 - Pain, aching and fatigue - Symptoms at work & home - May interrupt sleep STAGE 3 - Pain, aching, and fatigue, even at rest - Hard to sleep - Not able to work - Medical care needed

Tendonitis or Tendinopathy Symptoms: swelling, pain, hard to move, ganglion Common types: – Hand, wrist, shoulder tendonitis – DeQuervain’s Syndrome (thumb) – Epicondylitis (tennis & golfer’s elbow) Risks: – – – – Repetitive hand or finger movements Awkward postures (wrist, forearm, shoulder) Prolonged gripping (mouse hand) Forceful exertion (pinch grip on mouse)

Nerve Entrapment Syndromes Injury or irritation to nerves “Referred” symptoms: Downstream pain, numbness, tingling, pins and needles, weakness, clumsy Common types: – carpal tunnel syndrome; sciatica/low back injury Risks: same as tendonitis, plus contact stress

Headaches - Myofascial Pain Travel & Simons (1983), Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual Risk factors: Sustained awkward posture of neck, shoulders or upper back Monitor too low (laptops!) or too far away or not centred Reach for keyboard or mouse Reference documents to one side

MSI Control Strategies In order of preference. Engineering – equipment, space and set-up Administrative – how you do what you do Consider: 1. What can you do with existing equipment? 2. What additional equipment would help? 3. What can you do differently?

Target Workstation Configuration Posture: – 90 -100 angle at knees, hips, and elbows. Everything else straight Monitor: – top at eye height; arm’s length away; centred to nose; 90 to window Lighting: – within 2x monitor brightness Keyboard/mouse or worksurface: – elbow height with relaxed shoulders Feet: – on the floor or supported in front of the chair Standing? 90 elbow. Same targets.

Home Office: Chair and Keyboard/Mouse Chair too low for keyboard/mouse? 1. Raise chair: cushion, folded towel on seat 2. Lower worksurface: shelf/plank on lap Chair too high for foot support on floor? 1. Lower the chair (and worksurface) 2. Add a footrest – box, books in front of chair

Home Office: Monitor Top of monitor to eye height? 1. Check for adjustable monitor stand 2. Use books, shelf or reams of paper or a monitor riser/arm Wear progressives or bifocals? 1. Lower monitor to read mid-screen with no neck tilt. may need trial & error

Home Office: Reference Documents Target: between keyboard & monitor, angled up 1. Inline document holder (3M DH630 or VuRyte 18DC) 2. 3” binder or clipboard

Home Office: 2 Monitors? Primary 1 Reference 2 Centre on 1 (nose; b-key) 2 to right and angle No gap Keep active work in 1 Equal use of both Centre between both Angle both No gap

Home Office: Laptops Must separate the keyboard and monitor to fit! 1. Peripheral keyboard and mouse - USB or Bluetooth for easy connect 2. Peripheral monitor OR Laptop as monitor - Top of monitor at eye level - Shelf, books or laptop riser

Home Office: Laptop as 2nd Monitor Treat laptop as reference monitor only To right and raised or Inline and below

Home Office: Phones 1. Long phone calls or with calls with data entry? – Headset or speaker phone 2. Mobile phone use? – Limit text and reading time – Short emails/texts only (computer for long messages) – Raise to easy viewing height and tuck elbows in close – Headset or speaker

Home Office: Lifestyle Establish separation – Physical work location – Time routine (usual hours) – Personal preparation (get ready to work) – Personal maintenance (move every hour) Maintain connection – Schedule regular contact or check-in – More frequent contact if isolation

Take Charge of Your Risk Level Be aware of early MSI symptoms Configure your workstation to fit Configure your lifestyle for balance Ask for help if symptoms or issues with setting up home office

Home Office: Chair and Keyboard/Mouse Chair too low for keyboard/mouse? 1. Raise chair: cushion, folded towel on seat 2. Lower worksurface: shelf/plank on lap Chair too high for foot support on floor? 1. Lower the chair (and worksurface) 2. Add a footrest -box, books in front of chair

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