Going back to work in a office job can be challenging for someone who has sufferd an injury : back pain, neck pain, as well as shoulder or wrist pain can quickly show up. An office ergonomics assessment made by a professional ergonomist can reduce the physical requirements involved in the work, and upgrade the chances of a successful progressive return to work, preventing relapse.
The office ergonomics assessment
The ergonomist starts by collecting all relevant information about the worker, his pain and discomforts, previous injuries and physical condition, in order to clearly identify his/her needs. He then takes mesurements of the workstation, as well as the antropometric measurements of the worker (the measurements of human body parts, such as legs and torso).
With his conscent, the ergonomist can take videos of the worker while he is performing his normal work, in order to then discuss about postures, forces involved, movements, and the possible implications of these in musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and pain, with visual support.
The assessment includes :
- making sure that the office chair is suited and well adjusted to the worker ;
- discussing about the type of keyboard and mouse used, especially for the proper positioning of the upper extremities ;
- adjusting the position of the computer screen(s) properly ;
- possibly suggesting ideas for the office’s general layout, and about the equipement used (telephone, calculator) ;
- discussing the use (or not) of a keyboard tray ;
- assessing the illumination levels with a light meter.
It is also strongly recommended to ask the ergonomist for a follow-up visit. Follow-ups are useful to validate the adjustments made, do some fine-tuning, and discuss about the progress that the intervention has provided.
The ergonomist brings different equipment (split keyboards, short keyboards, vertical mice, footrest, etc., see below for examples). This allows the worker to try them out, as needed, and to give direct feedback, which allows for a truly participative exchange.