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WORKPLACE

DESIGN

Introduction
The ergonomic workplace design aims at improving
work performance (both in quantity and quality) as well
as ensuring occupational safety and health through:
Minimizing the physical workload and the associated strain
on the working person
Facilitating task execution, that is, ensuring effortless
information exchange with the environment, minimization
of the physical constraints, and so on
Achieving ease of use of the various workplace elements

Working Posture

The two most common


working postures are
sitting and standing.
Between the
two, the sitting posture is
of course more
comfortable.
However, there is
research evidence that
sitting adopted
for prolonged periods of
time results in
discomfort,
aches, or even
irreversible injuries.
For example,
shows the most common
musculoskeletal
disorders
encountered at office

Based on this conclusion,


the standingsitting
workstation
has been proposed,
especially for cases where
the task requires long
periods of continuous work
(e.g.,
bank tellers or assembly
workstations). This
workstation
permits to perform a job
alternating the standing
with
the sitting posture

Kyphosis provokes
increased pressure on the spine disks at the
lumbar
portion. Nachemson and Elfstrom (1970), for
example,
found that unsupported sitting in upright posture
resulted
in a 40% increase in the disks pressure compared
to the
pressure when standing. There are three
complementary
ways to minimize lumbar kyphosis: (i) by using a
thick lumbar support; (ii) by reclining the backrest;
and
(iii) by providing
a forward-tilting
seatergonomics
Considering
the above,
the following
requirements should be met:
1. The seats should dispose a backrest which can
recline.
2. The backrest should provide a lumbar support.
3. The seat should provide a forward-titling seat.

There are quite a lot of detailed ergonomic


requirements
concerning the design of seats used at work.
For
example:
The seat should be adjustable in order to fit
to the
various anthropometric characteristics of
their
users as well as to different working heights.
The seat should offer stability to the user.
The seat should offer freedom of movement
to
the user.
The seat should be equipped with armrests.
The seat lining material should be water
absorbent to absorb body perspiration

A design solution which aims to minimize lumbar


kyphosis is the kneeling or balance chair where the
seat is inclined more than 20 degree from the
horizontal plane. Besides the somewhat unusual
way of
sitting, this chair has also the drawbacks of loading
the
area of knees as they receive a great part of the
bodys
load and of constraining the legs movements. On
the
Sanders
anditMcCormick
addition
other hand,
enforces a (1992)
lumbarpropose
lordosisin
very
close
the
to following general ergonomics
recommendations
forstanding and does not
the one adopted while
work
surfaces:
constrain

If at
all possible
work
surface
height should
the
torso
to move the
freely
forward,
backward,
or
be
adjustable to fit individual physical dimensions
sideways
and preferences.
The work surface should be at a level that places
the working height at elbow height, with shoulders
at relaxed posture.
The work surface should provide adequate
clearance

Workstation
Layout deals with the placement and orientation of individual
workstations in a given space (building). The main ergonomics requirements concern
the tasks performed, the work organization, and the environmental factors:
The layout of the workstations should facilitate
the work flow.
The layout of the workstations should facilitate
cooperation (of both personnel and external
persons, e.g., customers).
The layout of the workstations should conform
to the organizational structure.
The layout should ensure the required privacy.
There should be appropriate lighting, conforming
to the tasks and working persons needs.
The lighting should be uniform throughout the
working persons visual field.
There should be no annoying reflections or glare
in the working area.
There should be no annoying hot or cold
draughts in the workplace.
Access to the workstations should be unobstructed
and safe.

The method aims at


alleviating
the design process for
arranging the workstations
by decomposing the whole
problem to a number of
stages during which only a
limited number of ergonomic
requirements are considered.

determine the free-of-furniture


spaces the following
suggestions can be used
Allow for
An area of 50 cm in front of
any window
An area of 3m in front and
1m on both sides of
the main entrance door
An area of 1.50m in front
and 50 cm on both
sides of any other door
An area of 50 cm around any
radiator

proximity table represents the desired proximity


of each unit with any other one, rated by using the
following scale:
9: The two units cooperate firmly and should be
placed close together.
3: The two units cooperate from time to time, and
it
would be desirable to place them in proximity.
1: The two units do not cooperate frequently, and
it
is indifferent if they will be placed in proximity.