Editor’s note: This is a massive list of office ergonomics resources. Consider bookmarking this page for future reference.
You’ve heard the statistics.
- The average adult now spends 50-70% of the day sitting at work. (source)
- 35.7% of all adults in the United States are obese. (source)
- Musculoskeletal disorders account for about one-third of all injury and illness costs of U.S. businesses. (source)
- Our nation’s poor health is causing health care costs to grow at an unsustainable rate, quickly outpacing average household income. (source)
Clearly, the sedentary lifestyles of many of today’s workers are posing serious health challenges and costs to people and businesses across the country.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Smart companies are meeting these challenges head on with a proactive approach.
Part of this approach is to implement an office ergonomics program. OSHA defines ergonomics as, “The science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.”
When the incompatibilities between the work and the worker are removed, it allows for maximum safe work performance. Ergonomic risk factors are removed and the worker achieves maximum productivity. For these reasons, we often say that ergonomics is good for business and great for people.
If you’re new to the office ergonomics game, you might be wondering where to get started. What does an ergonomics improvement process look like? How do you choose the right chair, keyboard, mouse and other office equipment?
If you’re wondering about these things, relax. We’ve got you covered with a little help from some of our friends.
Let’s get started.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics: What is it? | from Oklahoma State University
OKU offers the definition of ergonomics, from the original Greek meaning to the practical application of ergonomics and human factors in use today.
Ergonomics & Human Factors | fromWikipedia
For a complete definition, history, applications and methods of ergonomics and human factors, check out the Ergonomics page on Wikipedia.
The Discipline of Ergonomics | from International Ergonomics Association
This page from the International Ergonomics Association provides the approved definitions and domains of the specialization of ergonomics approved in 2000.
Ergonomics & Human Factors | from Health & Safety Executive
For more on the basics of ergonomics, this page from the Health & Safety Executive offers an introduction to ergonomics, case studies, recent articles and a few resources to get you started.
The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Ergonomics | from Ergonomics Plus
In this comprehensive post (similar to the one you’re currently reading), we lay out the basics of workplace ergonomics. We cover the benefits of ergonomics, the ergonomics improvement process, conducting ergonomic assessments, ergonomics training, ergonomics success stories and much, much more.
Ergonomic Risk Factors
Ergonomic Considerations from Head to Toe | from Ergonomics Plus
This post lays out ergonomic considerations for each part of the body, from head to toe, along with ergonomic design considerations for each. It’s a handy page to have bookmarked for future reference.
How to Recognize Ergonomic Risk Factors | from Ergonomics Plus
High task repepition, forceful exertions and awkward/sustained postures are all ergonomic risk factors. They are the enemy of efficient workplace design and human performance. This article contains tips on how to recognize these risk factors and put control measures in place to reduce risk exposure.
Office Ergonomics: What You Need to Know
Ergonomic Guidelines for Arranging a Computer Workstation | from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
This is a must-read set of ergonomic guidelines created by Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University. Professor Hedge takes you step-by-step through, “10 steps for a good ergonomic arrangement.”
Ergonomics of the Office and Workplace: An Overview | from Spine Health
This overview of office ergonomics from Spine Health offers a practical approach to office ergonomics with a focus on reducing back pain, one of the most common workplace injuries.
Computer Workstations | from OSHA
This page on the OSHA website is its’ home base for information relating to office ergonomics. It contains a few handy tools including an evaluation checklist, purchasing guide checklist and an archive of quick tips.
Office Ergonomics Overview and Resources | from UCLA Ergonomics
This resources page from UCLA Ergonomics offers a 4-step checklist to setting up your workstation, tips for computer users, tips for pointing devices, a postural guide, workstation myths and more.
Office Ergonomics – Practical Solutions for a Safer Workplace | from Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
This 73-page PDF file from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is a comprehensive overview of office ergonomics and workplace musculoskeletal disorders. It also includes a few helpful case studies to help you see office ergonomics in action.
Office Ergonomics – Guidelines for Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries | from WorkSafeNB|
This guidebook from WorkSafeNB provides the basic tools to set up and maintain a healthy workspace in the office. It also contains helpful sections on pointing devices, chairs, work space, keyboards, monitor position and more.
Ergonomics Improvement Process
A Systematic Approach to an Ergonomics Improvement Process | from Ergonomics Plus
This post is the first in a series that details our ergonomics improvement process from start to finish. It’s a great starter guide to understanding a practical and cost-effective ergonomics improvement process.
Managing Health: Ergonomics as Improvement Process | from EHS Today
Ergonomics delivers safer, less costly and more productive work environments. This is especially true when ergonomics is viewed as a process and aligned with continuous improvement efforts.
Recommended Ergonomic Assessment Tools | from Ergonomics Plus
Part of the ergonomics improvement process is to conduct ergonomic assessments for each job in the workplace. This post walks you through our recommended ergonomic assessment tools. (Note: Ergonomics isn’t just about conducting assessments. The purpose of ergonomics is to make workplace improvements that remove risk and promote maximum human performance.)
Ergonomics Training and Education
Key Elements in Ergonomics Training | from EHS Today
This article on EHS Today delves into the reason for ergonomics training, the training sequence, training content and the critical success factors for ergonomics training.
Injury Prevention – Does Training Really Work? | from PreCare Inc.|
Does injury prevention and training really work? This article delves into the research behind that question. (The answer is yes, training does work when executed properly and in conjunction with other workplace improvement efforts.)
Office Ergonomics Checklists
Performance Oriented Ergonomic Checklist for (VDT) Workstations | from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
This is a comprehensive checklist for posture, workstation and environment design features and the worker from the Cornell University Ergonomics Web.
Office Ergonomics Checklist | from Ergonomics Plus
A properly designed workstation greatly reduces the risk of an MSD occurrence. This checklist is designed to allow employees to make sure their workstation is properly designed.
Office Ergonomics Tips
12 Tips for an Ergonomic Computer Workstation | from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
This article highlights twelve quick tips for designing an ergonomic computer workstation.
Injury Prevention Tip – Office Ergonomics: 10 Tips to Help You Avoid Fatigue | from Ergonomics Plus
Are you experiencing any fatigue or discomfort at your office workstation? If you are, here are ten tips to help you avoid fatigue.
Steps for Adjusting Your Workstation | from Barbre Ergonomics
This checklist and quick tip sheet from Barbre Ergonomics provides a visual aide to help you understand and visualize each item on the checklist.
Rest, Stretching and Exercise Breaks
Ergonomic Breaks, Rest Periods and Stretches | from State Fund CA
Maintaining overall health reduces your risk of injury. This article offers practical tips on maintaining good health and taking care of your body during the workday by taking rest breaks and stretching.
Work Breaks, Exercise and Stretches | from Stanford University
Taking rest breaks is necessary to ensure the performance of the musculoskeletal system. This article contains rest and micro break suggestions, exercise suggestions and additional resources.
In-Office Stretches | from UCLA Ergonomics
This page contains step-by-step instructions for easy to do stretches that can be performed at the office.
Choosing an Office Chair
How to Choose an Ergonomic Chair | from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
Before choosing an office chair, make sure it fits the criteria presented on this page from Cornell University Ergonomics Web. This page cites additional resources for special populations (Big people, little people, Big ‘n’ Tall Chairs, Kids chairs and Toddler chairs).
Choosing an Office Chair: An Informed Decision for Comfort and Health | from Humanscale
In an article that goes as far back as Ancient Egypt, the folks at Humanscale provide an overview of the complex challenge of choosing an office chair for optimal health and human performance.
Choosing a Keyboard
Computer Keyboard Design | from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
This article covers the problem with the design of standard computer keyboards, the optimum arrangement for a standard keyboard and the advantages of alternative keyboards. Another interesting observation from this article is the use of voice recognition as a supplement to keyboard input to reduce strain on the body.
Important Features in Evaluating Ergonomic Keyboards | from Kinesis Ergo
If you’re having trouble choosing a keyboard, this article examines what to look for and what to avoid in your keyboard.
Proper Keyboard Selection | from OSHA
This page on OSHA’s website is a useful tool for keyboard selection. They provide pictures and illustrations along with all potential hazards and possible solutions.
Choosing a Mouse
10 Tips for Using a Computer Mouse | from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
This article has ten useful tips for avoiding a mouse-related musculoskeletal injury and also includes summary recommendations for mouse position.
Sit / Stand Desks
The Dangers of Sitting at Work – And Standing | from Time Health & Family
The accumulating research on the health effects of sitting for extended periods of time is difficult impossible to ignore. In response, many workers have switched to a sit / stand desk to offset the dangerous effects of sitting. While there seems to be some positive health benefits to this, Professor Alan Hedge offers a word of caution.
Ten Things You Should Know About Sitting | from Office-Ergo
Work has changed. This article explains the evolution of work from being hunter-gatherers (walking and running from 6 -12 miles per day) all the way to the modern office (sitting for an average of 50 – 70% of the workday) and the implications of these changes.
What We Know About Sitting and Standing | from JustStand.org
Want more facts on sitting and standing? Take a look at JustStand.org for more information. This website also allows you to calculate your daily sitting time, your risk for sitting disease and the amount of calories you can burn by standing.
Using a Laptop
5 Tips for Using a Laptop Computer | from Cornell University Ergonomics Web
A basic ergonomic requirement for a computer is that the keyboard and screen are separate. Every single laptop violates this basic requirement. This is why you need to be especially careful about how you use your laptop. This articles contains five tips.
Laptop Ergonomics | from University of Minnesota
Check out this article for advice on typing with a laptop and using your laptop on the go from the University of Minnesota’s EHS Department.
Ergonomic Tips for Laptop Users | from UC Berkeley
Are you using your laptop unsafely? Take a look at this visual guide to proper laptop use from UC Berkeley.
Don’t Stop There … Additional Office Ergonomics Resources
- Office Ergonomics Quiz
- The Ultimate Guide to MSD Prevention
- How to Cost Justify Ergonomic Improvements
Thanks for reading!
If you’re still here, thanks for making it all the way through this list! I hope you found this guide useful.
It’s a lot of information to digest at one time, so be sure to bookmark this page for future reference.
Thanks again – now go save the office world from musculoskeletal injuries!
*Note: inclusion on this list of resources does not constitute any endorsement of any product or service.