The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Laboratory Ergonomics. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Scenario #1

Pam is seated at the workbench where she routinely prepares dilutions using an automated pipette. She leans to the right and stretches over her rack of tubes each time she needs to change a pipette tip. Pam is working in an awkward body position because the pipettes are not in a convenient location and the space is not well organized.

By changing the location of the pipettes to within her routine work area, she can avoid overstretching to reach the pipettes and avoid contorting her body into an awkward position that could eventually result in an MSD.

As shown in the image, regularly used items should be close to the worker to avoid leaning forward and over-extending reach radius. Adjust your work space so that you can reach tools and equipment without unusual bending or twisting; arrange the work area properly within the "work zone".

Avoid reaching more than 10 inches (25 cm) in front of the body for frequently used materials or 20 inches (50 cm) for items that are used occasionally.