ILRI Ergonomics Training
John W. Ayugi and Pius Makhonge
ILRI Environment, occupational health and safety (EOHS)
Nairobi, 22 July 2014
• Employers Responsibility
• Why is Ergonomics Important
• What is Ergonomics about
• Health Effects of Poor Ergonomic Design
• Identifying Ergonomic Hazards
• Ergo Analyzer (Questionnaire)
Responsible for providing a safe and healthful
workplace for their employees.
Ergonomic principals need to be applied to
reduce the musculoskeletal disorders resulting
from physical overexertion and associated
What is Ergonomics?
This involves fitting the job to the
worker and not the worker to the job.
This helps to lessen muscle fatigue,
increases productivity and reduces the
number of severity of work related
musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
The science of adapting workstations,
tools, equipment and job practices to
be compatible with employees.
To reduce the risk of;
•Ill health that are brought about by poor
Reduce Sickness Absence / Costs
Increase Performance / Output
Everyone in your organization is at risk and it is not
just “heavy” or “physical” jobs that cause injury
•By assessing all aspects of:
• Individuals and the jobs they perform e.g. Their
physical capabilities, tasks, equipment ,tools and
•To design work systems that are safe, flexible, efficient
Examples of Musculoskeletal Disorders- MSDs
Musculoskeletal Disorders affect the muscles,
nerves and tendons. The disorders are:
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Rotator cuff injuries (a shoulder problem)
• Epicondylitis (an elbow problem)
• Muscle strains and low back injuries
Health Issues Associated with Poor Ergonomics
Work related upper limb disorder
Psychological problems (Stress)
Back Pain & Injuries
Bending, Twisting, and Lifting
• Incorrect Posture
• Prolonged Sitting and/or Standing
• Slips Trips & Fall
• Exposure to Vibration
Work Related Upper Limb Disorders
continued “over use” can lead to permanent damage through:
Repetitive actions/pacing machines
Frequent applications of force
Inadequate R & R (rest and recovery)
Inadequate physical preparation (warming up)
This is a very complex area
A person under too much “pressure” may be more at risk from;
– Physical / Ergonomic Injury
– Accidents [mistakes, inattention, saving time, shortcut’s]
– General ill health [run down / poor condition]
– Substance Abuse
The Worker &Ergonomics
Two Basic Objectives;
Match the requirements of a task to the individual
Optimise the design of the task to the individual to reduce the risk
of injury, ill health and discomfort.
E.g.: Work stations may need to be adjustable so that they suit a
range of people.
Each worker is unique:
• Size & Shape
• Age and Gender
• Race and Language
• Physical Ability [Health & Fitness]
• Limitations [Vulnerabilities, Disabilities, Mental Ability]
•It is very difficult to optimise a task or a workplace to suit
People and Comfort….
different views about
• Background Noise
Discomfort will influence how a person will work
The Risk of Injury….
• You do something too frequently without a break
• You work in awkward position/ angles
• Your workstation does not “fit” you
• You have to stretch, bend or stoop too frequently
• You lift things incorrectly
• You are under discomfort
• You are under significant pressure.
• Areas of the body most affected are the upper
limbs and neck.
• Serious disorders such as carpal tunnel
syndrome, tendinitis and tenosynovitis (tendon
injuries) are often associated with VDU use.
• One of the biggest injury risk factors is static posture.
• Try to spend at least 5 minutes every hour away from your computer.
• Remember to ONLY stretch to the point of mild tension.
• Try to incorporate the stretches into your daily routine.
• This slide provides some illustrations of simple active stretches to perform at the
• Tightly clench your hand into a fist and release, fanning out the fingers. Repeat 3
Back and Shoulder Exercises
Stand up straight, place your right hand on your
left shoulder and move your head back gently.
Do the same thing for the right shoulder
Head and Neck Exercises…
• Move head sideways from left to right and back
• Move head backwards and then forward
Computer and Desk Stretches…
Sitting at a computer for long periods often cause neck
and shoulder stiffness and occasionally lower back
Do these stretches every hour or so throughout the
day or whenever you feel still.
Also be sure to get up and walk around the office
whenever you think of it. You’ll feel better.
Health and Safety Interventions..
• All managerial, supervisory and professional workers
to be included in health and safety training
• Stress and time management programmes
• Computer work hazards require organizational,
environmental, equipment and training emphasis
Elements and Management of Ergonomic Process
Provide management support
Encourage early reporting of MSD symptoms
Implement solutions to control hazards
•It is about making your home a more
comfortable, efficient and user-friendly
•The ergonomics of your home greatly
affect your body and its overall health.
•Install a cushioned mat to stand on along the length of
• Avoid round faucet knobs in all your sinks
• Purchase an oven that is mounted chest high,
eliminating the need to bend over.
• Choose a refrigerator that has a bottom-mounted
freezer, which reduces the need to bend over when
accessing the main body of the fridge.
THE LIVING ROOM
•Make sure your living room furniture is easy to move
• Avoid couches that are too low and choose one with a proper lumbar
• Buy a reading pillow or reading stand
• Avoid sitting in front of the television in a position where your neck is
maintaining an upward tilt
• When eating in front of the television, place food on a surface that is
high enough to eliminate the need to bend over to eat.
•Use a cervical pillow that supports the natural curve or
• Use products that properly support your neck while
reading or watching television in bed, to avoid “wry neck”
• Invest in a mattress that supports your spine without
creating pressure points
•Use bath, floor mats and install hand bars to
provide good traction, prevent slips and falls.
•Bathroom sinks and showerheads not be too low
• Fit all faucets in the house with a user-friendly
variety in which low force is necessary to turn the
water on and off.
FOR YOUR BACK..
• Choose a vehicle that sits high above the curb—an SUV instead of a
•Enter the car first by sitting down and then swinging your legs under the
• To leave your vehicle, slide the car seat back before swinging your legs
out and planting your feet on the ground.
•Look for cars with automatic transmissions and power steering.
•Use a lumbar support cushion and add foam wedges to the seat to
FOR YOUR NECKS AND SHOULDERS
• Avoid leaning forward when you sit in the driver’s
• Position the car seat so that you are comfortable and
• Make sure there is sufficient room between your
head and the roof of the car
OPTIMAL CAR SEAT..
• Choose a comfortable and supportive seat
• Confirm that all adjustment mechanisms are easy to use
• Make sure the seat material does not create discomfort and all
parts of the seat provide adequate support
•Children’s car seats to be light in weight , comfortable,
adjustable and back/head/shoulder rests to fit the physique of
ERGO DRIVING BREAKS
• To reset your spine and alleviate pressure
caused by prolonged sitting, take advantage of
red lights or sitting in traffic by doing some
•Holding a steering wheel in awkward postures
or too tightly can cause carpal tunnel syndrome