The Ergonomics Response

By Michael Patino on 2014-01-27 17:36:29 -

Sovella Human Workspace

Project case: How to Set Up an Ergonomic Workplace (from white papers)

How to set up an ergonomic workplace

Why usability and ergonomics improvements?

Because industries recognize work related health problems and associated costs, they look for working environment solutions designed to fit workers’ needs. The goals are to enhance comfort and satisfaction while maximizing worker efficiency. Considering usability and ergonomics in product development processes has financial and social advantages for all concerned.

Sovella uses scientific research to design workplaces

Sovella -- a pioneer in the manufacturing of industrial workstations -- has been active in developing ergonomic workspace solutions since the 1980s. Results of a recent Sovella Usability and Ergonomic Study of Industrial Workstations greatly influenced product development.

How to create an ergonomic workplace?

Seated or stand up work
Seated work is appropriate for assembly and writing/typing applications, when all work tools and parts are accessible, and when no heavy loads have to be carried.
Stand up work is appropriate when knee space is unavailable, when heavy loads are present, or when parts retrieval requires continuous movement.

Design of work surfaces in seated work
Seated work surfaces should be 65-75 cm (25.59”-29.52”) high for writing/typing. If work requires observation or small object manipulation, add 25 cm (9.84”). In both cases, for a female worker, adjust approximately 5 cm (1.96”) lower to allow for gender anthropometrics.

A good chair is a must
A chair should not be moved between workstations. Poor chair selection can undo all the positive effects of other ergonomic measures. The chair must match the user, adjust easily and provide support in various working positions. Backrest rake adjustment gives support to the lower back; depth adjustment affects sitting comfort.

Stand up work
For stand up work the work surface should measure 75 to 110 cm (29.52”-43.30”) high, depending on worker height and manipulated parts size (smaller parts call for higher tabletops). One meter is an average working level. Again, adjust down 5 cm (1.96”) for women.
Height adjustment (allowing for posture changes) is useful if the size of manipulated objects will vary. Height adjustable tables are also recommended in multi-user situations (e.g. shift work). Motor tables speed the adjustment process.

Horizontal work area
To improve working postures in assembly work, the most-often used parts should be placed into the normal horizontal working area within workers sight, around 45 cm (17.71”). When working with both hands, the frontal area is even shorter, around 35 cm (13.77”). Avoid overly large or deep workbenches, since assembly work is most ergonomic when parts are accessible. Recommended sizes are between 600 x 1000 mm (23.62” x 39.37”) and 750  x 1500 mm (29.52” x 59.05”). Indented tables provide additional comfort, accessibility and an arm rest.

Vertical work area
The vertical work area can be fine-tuned with accessories. Height adjustable arms help keep parts accessible. To avoid wrist tension, keep all components within 15 cm (5.90”) above the work surface. Tilt bin rails forward to keep the wrist in a neutral position when picking up parts. Finding parts is easier this way, too.

Footrests should be located on the floor. Both feet should fit; allow 30 x 40 cm (11.81” x 15.74”). Do not use footrests when chairs with wheels are present. Freestanding footrests allow leg movement and clearance. Surface and bottom elements should always be of non-slip materials. Manipulate pedals with the feet to adjust height and inclination. Incline should not exceed 30 degrees. Daily re-adjustment is recommended.

Lighting’s effect on posture is often forgotten as part of ergonomics. Appropriate lighting ensures visual comfort and effective task performance. A task that demands a good eye for detail calls for a task specific lighting. For viewing of square objects, two lights will eliminate shadows.

An ergonomically designed workplace maximizes the use of available working area, ease of adjustment and comfortable movement. When these ergonomic designs are applied in the workplace, worker productivity increases and company profitability is improved.

These sound, tested and proven design concepts are the basis of Sovella®. To learn more about how Sovella can improve your work places please find us at

Sovella Human Workspace