5 Ergonomic Items All Science Labs Should Have April 30 2018
Working in a laboratory setting presents its own unique challenges ergonomically. With long hours using specialized equipment like microscopes, pipettes, or biosafety cabinets, there is a lot of repetitive motion happening in the lab. Scientific equipment often requires the user to stand and repeat the same motion multiple times while retaining accuracy and precision. This can cause excessive strain on the hands and joints. Consider these five ergonomic tools to incorporate into your laboratory setting to increase safety precautions.
Cushion the joints to provide extra relief while standing for long periods of time. Anti-fatigue mats can also provide additional resistance and traction in the event of slips, spills, or other falls. Mats are usually available in a variety of sizes, with non-abrasive, non-static surfaces. If the flooring of your lab must be sterile, Ergo Mates provides the same type of support in the form of anti-fatigue slip-on shoes, which strap over the wearer’s regular footwear.
Incorporating adjustable work surfaces that can be raised or lowered depending on the task at hand can allow users of different heights and builds to use the same equipment safely. This also allows different stations to be used for different equipment. Increased flexibility of your work environment gives you the option to create custom workstations for each individual or for particular types of tasks. For example, a microscope table may need to be lower to comfortably use while a pipette station may need to be higher.
The hard edges of some lab work tables can cause pain or discomfort by reducing circulation to the forearms and hands. When you add an edge protector to a commonly used hard surface table, it functions as a wrist rest, protecting the user from strain and injury. These can be fitted to virtually any type of table or counter.
For those scientists that frequently use microscopes, forearm supports are a crucial piece of ergonomic equipment to have. Available in many sizes, these supports can be stacked to optimal height for individuals of all sizes and shapes, allow for custom comfort. Forearm supports reduce contact stress and eliminate awkward postures of the hands, wrists, and elbows that often lead to repetitive stress injuries (RSIs).
A sit-stand chair can provide adjustable seating to suit different workstations. Whether it needs to be raised to accommodate a higher lab table or you need to frequently switch between sitting and standing for a certain task, a sit-stand chair can help. The theory behind using this type of seating involves the alternation between the constant pressure on the feet, ankles, knees from standing and the strain on your lower back from constant sitting. Consistently alternating throughout the day is best for your joints and muscles.
A laboratory setting presents unique ergonomic challenges, but there are great ergonomic options out there to ensure you can still take care of your body while at work. Just because you don’t work in a traditional office setting doesn’t mean there aren’t still ways your work can result in injury over time! Take care of yourself while you take care of the scientific process.