Ergonomic Essentials for Healthcare

August 19, 2015
hospital worker

It's no secret that hospitals and healthcare facilities provide some very distinct challenges compared to most other workplaces. For example, healthcare is non-stop – it happens 24/7, 365 days a year – which means the facility must accommodate staff of all shapes and sizes during around-the-clock shifts.

The work is demanding too, as the staff must regularly multi-task while combining periods of physical work with periods of highly skilled knowledge work. In fact, in 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that healthcare workers suffer from the highest numbers of ergonomic-type musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Supporting a productive, injury-free staff means equipping them with the necessary ergonomic components that are adjustable and designed to accommodate the wide range of body sizes and shapes that comprise healthcare workers today.

Ergonomists have identified these essential components to an ergonomic healthcare setting:

  • Seating – Look for durability, support, and maximum adjustability to accommodate staff of varying heights and weight
  • Lumbar supports – An easy and cost-effective way to ensure added lower back support to all staff
  • Mobile carts & wall mounts – Ease of use and mobility help reduce nurse stress and fatigue and keep data readily accessible
  • Anti-fatigue matting – Reduces standing fatigue, improves productivity, and helps prevent slips and fall
  • Height adjustable desks/workstations – Accommodates staff of all heights and allows for seated work option too
  • Monitor arms – Makes the monitor easily adjustable to each workers eye level, reducing eye and neck strain
  • Palms/wrist supports – Provides support and allows users hand to freely move above the keyboard while typing
  • Keyboards & keyboard support systems – An ergonomic keyboard/keyboard tray at the correct height for each worker helps keep wrists straight and elbows open slightly beyond 90 degrees
  • Computer mice/input devices – The best computer mice keep your arm relaxed while using the device, thus reducing muscle tension in the arm and wrist
  • Task lighting – In hospitals, accurately reading reports and other paper documents require optimum task-specific light without the glare and reflection caused by overhead lighting schemes.

Learn more about these and other key healthcare ergonomic resources here