General Workstation Design Principles

  • Make the workstation adjustable, enabling both large and small persons to fit comfortably and reach materials easily.
  • Locate all materials and tools in front of the worker to reduce twisting motions. Provide sufficient work space for the whole body to turn.
  • Avoid static loads, fixed work postures, and job requirements in which operators must frequently or for long periods
    • lean to the front or the side,
    • hold a limb in a bent or extended position,
    • tilt the head forward more than 15 degrees, or
    • support the body’s weight with one leg.
  • Set the work surface above elbow height for tasks involving fine visual details and below elbow height for tasks requiring downward forces and heavy physical effort.
  • Provide adjustable, properly designed chairs with the following features
    • adjustable seat height,
    • adjustable up and down back rest, including a lumbar (lower-back) support
    • padding that will not compress more than an inch under the weight of a seated individual
    • a chair that is stable to floor at all times (5-leg base)
  • Allow the workers, at their discretion, to alternate between sitting and standing. Provide floor mats or padded surfaces for prolonged standing.
  • Support the limbs: provide elbow, wrist, arm, foot, and back rests as needed and feasible.
  • Use gravity to move materials.
  • Design the workstation so that arm movements are continuous and curved. Avoid straight-line, jerking arm motions.
  • Design so arm movements pivot about the elbow rather than around the shoulder to avoid stress on shoulder, neck, and upper back.
  • Design the primary work area so that arm movements or extensions of more than 15 in. are minimized.
  • Provide dials and displays that are simple, logical, and easy to read, reach, and operate.
  • Eliminate or minimize the effects of undesirable environmental conditions such as excessive noise, heat, humidity, cold, and poor illumination.

*Adapted from design checklists developed by Dave Ridyard, CPE, CIH, CSP. Applied Ergonomics Technology, 270 Mather Road, Jenkintown, PA 19046-3129.

View FHM Insurance Company's profile on LinkedIn