Ergonomics, trip hazards, bump hazards

Trip and bump hazards are dangers that can lead to accidents that result in serious injury, whether it be in a machine shop, laboratory, or even just an office. In addition to trip and bump hazards, ergonomics of a work setting is another important of safety that may have more long-term consequences rather than long term. Many of these issues are related to the design and layout of the work experience.

In terms of trip and bump hazards, care should be taken to:

  • Place cables out of any walkways; best case scenario use drop-down cables from the ceiling
  • Avoid placing objects under eye level on the floor
  • Maintain good housekeeping, as many trip hazards can arise from spills or objects laying around
  • Have unobstructed walkways; if some object must be placed somewhere, soften the hard edges

Ergonomics– The scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system…to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

-International Ergonomics Association

In terms of ergonomics, workers subject to repetitive motion or uncomfortable working environments can develop injuries over time. Some examples include excessive keyboarding, eye strain using microscopes and computers, or hand cramps when polishing samples or operating other instruments. Lab benches are at fixed heights and are not designed for anything more than light to slightly heavy work. They often force the user to assume many different awkward positions. When working for extended periods of time, it is recommended to take occasional breaks to relieve any stress that may have built on on your muscles.

Much to do with ergonomics involves height adjustment and instrument-user mismatch ie. handle settings, size settings, etc. Three general rules to follow when seated:

  • Upper legs and feet parallel to ground
  • Upper arms parallel to ground
  • Top of the screen parallel to eyebrows

To avoid injuries due to bad ergonomics, some prevention steps include:

  • Correct posture
  • Take breaks from working
  • Stretch
  • Overall situational awareness

Person interviewed:

Chris Kailhofer: MSE building manager, lab supervisor, and renovations coordinator


UHS Ergonomics

OSHA Lab Safety Guide

OSHA Ergonomics

Page prepared by Allen Chen