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Ergonomics is the practice of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population. Ergonomics is based upon principles of anatomy, anthropometry, biomechanics, physiology and psychology. While ergonomics can be applied at home and in recreation, the most common uses are in workplaces in areas such as workstation design and the layout of the work environment.

The goal is to optimize the health, safety, comfort and efficiency of workers by preventing soft-tissue injuries. This can be achieved through proper training, precautions, equipment and implementing an active health and safety program that features an ergonomics component.

The expectation is that people who work in a healthy, safe and ergonomically designed work environment will be healthier and more productive for a longer period of time. This will help to improve the bottom-line of a business and help employers comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Tips for designing or modifying your workplace:

  1. Keep everything (tools, materials, equipment) in easy reach.
  2. Work at proper heights (in relation to the body of the worker).
  3. Avoid excessive force where possible.
  4. Work in a good comfortable posture.
  5. Reduce excessive repetition.
  6. Minimize general fatigue.
  7. Minimize direct pressure on legs, feet and hands.
  8. Provide adjustable workstations (chairs, tables, platforms).
  9. Ensure easy access and provide clearance.
  10. Maintain a comfortable environment (heat, light, humidity). 
  11. Improve work organization.

The Commission has an ergonomist who can assist employers in matters regarding ergonomics. Services provided to date include:

  • Speaking at OH&S committee meetings, company information sessions, and conferences;
  • Assisting employers in locating ergonomics service providers;
  • Answering specific ergonomics questions; and 
  • Assisting employers in implementing ergonomics into their health and safety management program.

Important ergonomics definitions

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