Whether you are working in a chemistry lab, working with animals or in a mechanical engineering lab, there’s always a risk of strain from adopting poor body postures. The key to prevention is being mindful of your body. Where is your arm relative to your body? Where is your wrist relative to your forearm? Aim to keep your limbs as close to your body and in the most neutral position possible. Check out our Laboratory Ergonomics Guide to Proper workstation set-up for tips.
Lab Ergo Training
The Lab Ergo Training Course will be changed to an online format and will be available January, 2014. Live training will be available, upon request.
Participants will learn:
- Common Sources of Musculoskeletal Injuries in the Lab
- Pipetting & Microscope Ergonomic Risk Factors
- Resources Available to Reduce Risks
This course interactive workshop is designed for Lab Managers/Principal Investigators & Lab Safety Officers.
Standing for long periods
- Try to move around as much as possible.
- Put one foot up on a footrest or ledge to reduce stiffness in lower back muscles.
Working in fumehoods or glove boxes
- Try to keep equipment close to the front to reduce forward reaching.
Working in biosafety cabinets
- Keep ‘dirty’ equipment towards the back of the cabinet and the active ‘clean’ equipment towards the front to avoid contamination and reduce forward reaching.
- Keep your arm close to your body, resting your elbow on a padded bench surface if possible.
- Alternate which arm is holding the pipette, and avoid pipetting for extended periods of time.
- Plan daily tasks to increase variation in body posture
- Use computer work as a short break from repetitive lab tasks
- Use horizontal serological pipette trays for pipette tip disposal rather than tall buckets or PVC tubing requiring excessive reaching
Setting up your work station
- Bring your lab equipment closer or adjust the height of your stools or biosafety cabinets to keep your back and shoulders in a comfortable, neutral position
- Try to avoid storing heavy or frequently accessed items over shoulder height or on low-level shelves.
- Ensure computer workstations and seated lab work areas have adequate legroom
- If your liquid and solid chemical storage is above elbow height, consider having a small stock stored separately for employees who have difficulties reaching higher shelves or ensure a stepladder is readily available.