Frequently Asked Questions

What is ergonomics?

The term ‘ergonomics’ is used a lot these days (and in some cases, over used) but what does it actually mean? The work comes from the Greek ergos which means ‘work’ and nomos which means ‘natural law’ and it is the science of human work. To put it more simply it is the use of science to improve the ‘fit’ between people and their work.

How would ergonomics help us?

Ergonomists adjust the workplace to fit the user rather than adjusting the user to fit the workplace! To assess the ‘fit’ they have to take into account characteristics of the person and of the work and the interaction between them. These include the tasks being done, the equipment and information being used and the physical and social environments; the body size of the worker, his/her strength, posture and senses and also some psychological aspects.

And the purpose of all of this is not just to make the worker more comfortable although that does play a part. Ergonomic interventions in the workplace reduce accidents and injuries, reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. Contact us »

What are musculoskeletal disorders?

Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs as it is sometimes written, are quite simply disorders of the muscles, joints and tendons. It is the collective term for strains, sprains and over use injuries affecting soft tissues and joints.

 What are the causes of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace?

Activities that involve force, repetitive movements and awkward postures particularly when the joint is near the end of its range of movement can cause damage to muscles and joints. A lack of rest breaks prevents recovery and adds to the problem. Other causes include lifting and handling, direct pressure on body tissues, vibration and cold work environments.

Research has shown that poorly set up workstations and the static activity of working on computers is linked to more musculoskeletal discomfort. Poor posture, incorrect set up of workstations and bad work habits contribute to RSI. Mouse use, particularly the arm posture involved, is a risk factor for musculoskeletal symptoms including neck and wrist discomfort. Contact us »

We have carried out a DSE assessment for our member of staff but this hasn’t solved her problems.

A DSE assessment is an essential first step but it is not always the complete answer. There are inevitably some users that require a more in-depth and specialist assessment from a trained assessor to help resolve their issues. Utilising the skills of an experienced Ergonomic assessor, who is also a Chartered Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist means that you benefit from a range of skills and experience. Contact us »

What happens when you carry out a workplace assessment?

All assessments are carried out on a one-to-one basis at the workplace by a Chartered Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist with many years experience. The client has ample opportunity to explain and demonstrate his/her problems and difficulties and some immediate advice and guidance is provided.

What are the problems associated with using a laptop?

Laptop computers create specific problems. The keyboard and screen are small and attached to each other making them impossible to position correctly. However there are ways in which postural strain can be reduced and workers who use laptops should receive adequate training on how to minimise risks. Contact us »

 Do you always suggest expensive new chairs?

No we don’t! It is often the way in which equipment is used rather than the equipment itself that gives rise to problems. Most can be prevented by reorganising the workstation and ensuring workers know how to use the equipment correctly. Contact us »