Worksite International Blog

When an Office Chair is On Its Last Legs

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on May 21, 2019

Industry organizations have developed widely accepted ergonomic guidelines for the set up of office workstations and the design of ergonomic chairs. What’s missing — and very much needed, I argue — is an objective methodology for making the decision to keep, repair or replace task chairs once they’re in the workplace.

Despite recent trends toward promoting more standing in the workplace, average sitting times now exceed 7.7-10 hours per day or longer in the workplace, not including commute time. Most employers do not yet have widespread capacity for sit-to-stand workstations. As a result, far more emphasis needs to be placed on selecting chairs and the ongoing use of an ergonomic chair.

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Could Sitting at Work Be a Presumptive Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on May 15, 2019

Hear me out…. I know what you are thinking, “Really?” Yes, Really!

The reason I propose this question is because of the preponderance of evidence around the health impacts of sitting, our seated work-lifestyle, and trends in workers’ compensation.

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To Arm Rest or Not to Arm Rest… This is the Dilemma!

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on April 22, 2019

Perhaps one of the most controversial ergonomic actions in the workplace is whether to use armrests or not. I see many employees with chairs that previously had armrests but now do not. When I ask where the armrests are, the employee typically states, "The last ergo evaluator told me to remove them." To which I ask if that was helpful? Typically, employees report continued problems despite this action.

The question is why remove them? Is it necessary or helpful to use armrests with computer use? Is it bad to use chair armrests? There are many myths and half truths around the use of armrests. In this blog, I separate fact from fiction and help identify whether armrests are truly helpful or harmful.

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How Chair Aware is Your Ergonomics Program?

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on April 15, 2019

Chairs matter a lot. A bad chair matters more. But a good ergonomic chair matters the most!

Why do I say this? Because as a professional ergonomist, I’ve come to realize chairs are foundational to seated work. If the chair isn’t right, then the ergonomics will never be right, and your employees will never truly be comfortable!

So often I see companies with no specific plan for buying chairs for their employees. Typically, they are old, worn, outdated, poorly assigned, non-specific to task or employee stature, don’t work and employees have no idea how to adjust what they have been provided. Chairs are undervalued and underappreciated in the workplace! They are a forgotten asset!

Which brings me to ask you, “Are you chair aware?” Chair awareness is complex. The best way to explain it is to see if you can answer these ten questions.

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How the Quality of Internal Ergonomic Practices Impact Organizations

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on March 25, 2019

According to Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the father of quality, as quality improves, costs go down and productivity increases. Quality and productivity can be continually improved for better profitability. These are the same drivers that steer a company towards improving their workers’ compensation management and ergonomics process.

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5 Strategies You Need to Know Before You Invest in New Office Chairs

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on March 11, 2019

When your employee tells you they have back pain from sitting, do you immediately think you need to replace his/her chair? And if you do replace it, do you worry about whether their cubicle neighbor to the right and left will want one too? Then before you know it…many employees are reporting the same; bringing in therapy balls or asking for ergonomic evaluations to justify replacing their ergonomic office chairs.

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10 Successful Ergonomic Strategies for Supervisors

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on March 4, 2019

As a supervisor or manager, you are accountable for the actions and productivity of your staff. One area many fall short in is helping employees with injury prevention and management strategies. Management can often be “the weakest link” in the safety and workers’ compensation program as it is your accountability to the organization’s policies and procedures that sets the stage for your employees.

If you walk and talk the safety program, your employees will step up to participate. If you are supportive of their work injury, they will trust and respond favorably to the assistance you offer in getting them back to work.

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10 Benefits of an Online Ergonomics Training Program

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on January 15, 2019

In my work as an ergonomist, I conduct routine preventive and post-injury ergonomic evaluations. For years, I’ve asked each employee, “Do you know what ergonomics is?” and “When was the last time you attended ergonomics training?” The answers are almost always “not sure” and “never”!

Yet, it’s been over 22 years since California put into place its ergonomics regulation (Cal-OSHA 5110). It requires employers who have had more than one repetitive motion injury in the last 12 months to train employees in ergonomics. Even if the employer hasn’t had any repetitive motion injuries, training gives employees the skills to self-correct their work area for common ergonomics concerns when provided with adjustable equipment. Employees become empowered to be proactive about their health and wellness, making them more comfortable, happy, and productive at work.

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Santa’s Holiday Back Safety Tips for Your Employees

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on December 18, 2018

With the holidays upon us, there comes a significant amount of stress and overexertion that can lead to an increase in musculoskeletal discomfort. To start the new year off with a healthy and happy workforce, share these holiday back safety tips with them. Employees who feel well physically and emotionally perform at higher levels, so it's important to support their wellness within and outside of the organization.

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Sit-Stand Workstation Recommendations From the Experts

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on October 4, 2018

This past August, I presented my Chair Assessment Model at the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) Florence, Italy. Over 1700 ergonomists, most of whom were professors and academic researchers from more than 35 countries, were in attendance. This year’s theme was “Creativity in Practice”, the challenge of transforming the experimental, field research, and evaluation processes into the daily practices of the ever-changing working and living organizations. There was an over-abundance of lectures highlighting the latest research in ergonomics and human factors.

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