The Benefits of an Ergonomic Workstation

What is ergonomic?

Medical Dictionary definition: The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.

Ergonomic. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved December 09, 2013, from Dictionary.com website.

workstationA workstation is typically where one person works at a particular task or operation. An office desk could be considered a personal workstation. For the use in a manufacturing environment what choices are available? Usually just a run of the mill wooden desk or stamped steel table is converted for use. This is usually far from optimal for the task(s) being performed at the station.

The use of modular aluminum framing offers the perfect solution, allowing infinite customization in today’s evolving manufacturing environment. Framing Tech has years of experience not just working with our products but applying them in many unique manufacturing environments from Pharmaceutical, clean-room, automotive, military, electronic assembly, etc.

The workstation should be configured using lean principals which allow only having materials and tools at the station that are required for that shift’s operation. Many options can be supplied to make the operator comfortable and maximize efficiency. Any small part requirements can be supplied within an acceptable reach-zone at optimal height and presentation via simple bin-rails or articulating arm assemblies. Other helpful options are on-station task lighting, power-strips, tool or cup holders, storage drawers, tool hangers, adjustable footrests, etc. Computers can also be effectively placed on or below the work surface as well as the monitor, keyboard and mouse, which can be located on a pullout drawer. Work tops can be wood, laminate, composite, chemically resistant, ESD, etc. The back uprights can contain back panels for noise abatement, privacy, process-document presentation and more. Height adjustability is also an option via hand-crank or electric motor actuation to allow for operators of different sizes to perform the same tasks in a comfortable fashion.

Using t-slotted aluminum framing allows for an evolving manufacturing environment. With product life cycles changing at a more rapid rate this type of workstation can easily be reconfigured by adding, subtracting or re-positioning optional equipment.

What are the benefits?

Increased Productivityworkstation2

Making your workstation ergonomic increases your productivity – so it’ll take you less time to complete a task. And you’ll have more energy! You’ll also have greater job satisfaction. Even though you have to spend money on new workstations, it’s certainly cost effective. A secondary benefit is to get management involved with their work-force & asking for input from the operators on what might make them more efficient in the form of better product or tool placement, personal item storage areas, etc. The morale boost alone might be worth the expense of upgrading old work benches to a new high-tech, 21st century product.

Improved Health

We all know how important health and safety is to an office or manufacturing environment. Unfortunately, bad workstations are notoriously synonymous with carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries. If you make your workstations ergonomic, you’ll see a decrease in worker’s compensation claims. You’ll also see a decrease in worker absences.

Of course, simply making your workstation ergonomic won’t solve every problem. It’s always recommended that you step away from your workstation a handful of times during the day, perhaps to do a little exercise. You should light your office correctly so you’re not hurting your eyes, arrange your workspace, and do whatever else you can to improve the quality of your work day.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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5 Tips to Better Ergonomics in the Workplace

New cubicleTo put it simply, ergonomics is the study of efficiency in working environments. The goal of ergonomics is to find a balance between you and your work condition. More specifically, one that not only keeps you safe and comfortable but also limits work-related injuries. A recent study demonstrates the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death. Therefore, good ergonomics can improve your health and overall quality of life at work.

Arrange Your Workspace

It’s critical to organize your personal workspace. This includes arranging the tools around your desk so that you minimize the distance you have to reach for them. For instance, your most frequently used items should be located within your primary work zone. This includes the distance from your elbow to your hand. Items you use frequently, but don’t need all the time should be located in your secondary work zone, which is within arm’s length. Lastly, your reference zone, which is just outside arm’s reach, should contain your least-often used items.

Exercise At Your Desk

Sitting behind a computer all day can cause back pain, a stiff neck and shoulders, sore hands or wrists, and tired legs. Exercising can help to improve all of these symptoms and more. Plus, you burn calories while doing so! When possible, stretch your arms and wrists. You can also do shoulder and neck rolls to loosen the muscles in your back. Replacing your desk chair with a stability ball is not a bad idea either. It activates good posture and the tightening of core muscles—resulting in strong abdominals. Ideally, you should try to stretch every 20 minutes.

Get Up and Walk

Sitting in a chair all day allows your leg muscles to essentially shut down. You also stop burning calories, your cholesterol production decreases and your risk of diabetes increases. For those reasons, it’s crucial to get up and take frequent walks in order to reactivate your body and increase your blood flow. Whether it’s to the water cooler or just a causal stroll down the hall, make it a priority to take daily walks during throughout the workday.

Maintain Good Work Habits

Maintaining good work habits will give your body a chance to recover while keeping your productivity up. For instance, when you’re not typing you should rest your arms and wrists on a palm rest rather than a hard desk edge. Also, your mouse should be close enough to the keyboard in order to minimize reaching from the shoulder. And rather than sitting at a stiff 90-degree angle, you should try to relax your body and sit at 100 or 110-degree angle.

Appropriate Lighting

More times than not, office lighting is not appropriate for the human eye. And inappropriate lighting can strain your eyes. Therefore, it’s important that monitors are not too bright. Use one of those monitor filters that reduce the glare. For reading, you can supplement a desk light rather than overhead lighting. Also, you should practice looking away from your monitor every 20 minutes. If you can, stare out the window or at a distant object for ten seconds. This will help reduce fatigue and eye strain.

Practicing good ergonomics in the workplace is important. While a sore neck or back may seem harmless at the time, these types of injuries can cause long-term suffering and damage to those who experience them. Research shows that reducing your sitting time to just three hours a day can increase your life expectancy by two years. Ergonomically designed workstations made of aluminum framing can provide temporary relief to workers while making them more productive. Ultimately, the goal of ergonomics is to avoid long-term damage to the body. This will allow office workers to live longer, happier lives.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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