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Laboratory Ergonomics If you have questions about this training series or any occupational health & safety issue, please contact EH&S by phone, at 294-5359, or by e-mail at ehswwwadm@ehsa.adp.iastate.edu .

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slide2

If you have questions about this training series or any occupational health & safety issue, please contact EH&S by phone, at 294-5359, or by e-mail at ehswwwadm@ehsa.adp.iastate.edu.

slide3

This module will provide the reader with specific examples of equipment and techniques to reduce or eliminate laboratory ergonomic risk factors.

An introduction to ergonomics can be found in the e-book presentation, “Introduction to Ergonomics”

slide4

Seating

Whether using a microscope, plating cultures, preparing samples or working at a computer, seating plays an essential role in laboratory ergonomics.

slide5

Seating - Solutions

  • Adjust stool seat height and potentially use a stand-alone, adjustable footrest. If both are not adjustable, consider purchasing a new stool and/or footrest.
slide6

Seating - Solutions

  • Does the chair provide adequate back support. It not, potentially obtain an attachable backrest cushion.
slide7

Fume Hoods and Biosafety Cabinets

Typical ergonomic issues with fume hoods and biosafety cabinets include back and shoulder strain, forearm compression at the cabinet edge and lack of leg space under the unit.

slide8

Fume Hoods and Biosafety Cabinets - Solutions

  • Adjust your chair properly.
  • Some units may be pulled out from the wall to create foot space.
  • Where feasible, set the unit on a table rather than a cabinet to create foot space.
slide9

Microscopes and Accessories

Sitting at a microscope for prolonged periods can lead to a number of symptoms including back, shoulder, neck and arm discomfort as well as eye fatigue.

slide10

Microscopes and Accessories - Solutions

  • Adjust stool seat height and foot-ring height. If both are not adjustable, consider purchasing a new stool.
  • Mount your microscope on a tilted platform to improve head/neck angle or check with your supplier about adjustable eyepieces.

The Bay Optical ErgoAdapter

slide11

Microscopes and Accessories - Solutions

  • Consider replacing standard eyepieces with magnifying viewers
  • Consider using a video system and/or motorized joystick stage controllers.
slide12

Microscopes and Accessories - Solutions

  • If vibration is a problem, consider an anti-vibration paltform
  • Consider purchasing stage armrests.
slide13

Microscopes and Accessories - Solutions

  • To allow variable height, place the microscope on an adjustable riser for computer monitors.
slide14

Hand/Arm Fatigue and Strain

  • Many laboratory procedures lead to ergonomic risk factors such as static muscle loading, high hand/finger forces and repetition.
slide15

Hand/Arm Fatigue and Strain - Solutions

  • When working with microcentrifuge tubes, consider using tube openers.
  • Request easy-open tubes
slide16

Hand/Arm Fatigue and Strain - Solutions

  • When selecting pipettes, consider:
  • models with low plunger and ejection activation force
  • thin-walled tips for easy ejection
  • electronic pipettes
  • multi-channel pipettes
  • pistol-grip (finger, vs. thumb activation) pipettes
slide18

Hand/Arm Fatigue and Strain - Solutions

  • Be aware of body posture and habits. Try to keep the arms as low as possible and close to the body to reduce static muscle loading.
  • Use low profile waste receptacles, no higher than the height of the tubes that you are using.
  • Rotate the pipetting tasks among several people.
slide19

Hand/Arm Fatigue and Strain - Solutions

  • Task automation can reduce ergonomic stresses and save time. Consider purchasing automatic mixers and mortar grinders.
  • Where practical, consider using clamps to hold test tubes.
slide20

Laboratory Computers

Traditional laboratory benches and tables are not well-suited to computer use. Typically they are too high and are often too thick to allow proper height for seated keyboard work.

slide21

Laboratory Computers - Solutions

  • Remove a drawer and raise a lab stool such that forearms are approximately parallel to the floor during keying.
  • Allow the arms to hang next to the body, avoiding reaching.
  • Raise the keyboard and monitor to standing height.
  • Purchase a separate computer workstation