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Editor's Note

Editor's Note: From the desk of …

February 22, 2014

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This editor’s note, like all of the 80-something I’ve written for Safety+Health, is being typed at my desk. It’s a little startling to realize I’ve spent the majority of my adult working life sitting in an office chair. And not always in an ergonomically correct position.

The phrase “one size does not fit all” is frequently used when discussing ergonomics. This is reflected by the S+H team, which includes people of various sizes. For instance, I come from a family of 6-footers, and I enjoy the picture my 5-foot-tall publisher and I present when we walk the aisles together at trade shows (although I find it difficult to dredge up sympathy for her “pants too long” stories).

Something we now have in common, however, is an ergonomically correct work setup. As part of an increased focus on office safety in recent years, the National Safety Council performs regular workstation ergo assessments.

At first I was skeptical. As a person accustomed to ducking under low-hanging objects and having my knees smashed against the airplane seat in front of me, I had accepted occasional discomfort as a price of being tall – and that included back pain during the day and stiff shoulders by the time I headed home. After my first workstation assessment, however, adjustments were made, and I gradually became aware that the discomfort I had been experiencing was no longer an issue. I’m now a believer.

In Office Worker Ergonomics, S+H presents a pictorial that demonstrates, in part, how NSC performs an ergo assessment for office workers. We hope it will prove useful.

The pictorial focuses on the chair and desk, as those are frequent sources of discomfort. We’re aware that other conditions factor in – those are mentioned in a sidebar. But if you believe we’ve still left something out, or if you have other comments, feel free to share your thoughts by adding a comment to the online article or by emailing me directly.

The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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