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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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Work Station

Evaluate your work station including leg room, reach radius, accessibility of commonly used materials, and height of the work surface. Adequate space should be available to accommodate equipment and allow for full range of motion.

Personnel who sit for long periods of time should adjust chairs so that feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest. Chairs should have some primary features that can be easily adjusted including controls to raise and lower chair, seat pan adjustment, lumbar support, and backrest tilt or angle. Adjust the seat back slightly forward if necessary to avoid leaning forward unsupported or jutting your head forward.

Reach radius
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.

Avoid reaching or bending - arrange the work area properly within the "work zone". Avoid reaching more than 10 - 15 inches in front of the body for frequently used materials or 20 inches for items that are used occasionally.

Avoid reaching above shoulder height, below waist level, or behind the body to minimize shoulder strain.

Avoid repetitive work that requires full arm extension (i.e., the elbow held straight and the arm extended).

The image illustrates a workstation that is used by a technologist who performs microscopic work for the majority of the workday. The workstation is designed to prevent musculoskeletal disorders and fatigue.