Ergonomics looks at how people work, sit, reach, lift or do daily activities. The goal is to create a safe, comfortable and efficient workspace that prevents injuries. Sometimes, this workspace is at home, where you don’t pay attention to overuse or poor positioning.

Consider the following when doing daily activities:

  • Use a variety of healthy postures.
  • Rotate tasks.
  • Use large muscle groups instead of small muscle groups.
  • Pick up objects one at a time.
  • Work in a comfortable position that limits reaching and bending.
  • Use equipment that makes tasks safer (carts, shoulder straps, levers, etc.).
  • Work on surfaces with edges to prevent objects from falling.
  • Use shelves that pull out or rotate, and keep things within reach.

Forceful actions (lifting, carrying and pushing)

  • Use gloves that improve your grip but don’t prevent you from closing your hand around an object.
  • Use large handles with big grips.
  • Push rather than pull.
  • Use gravity (such as a downward slope) to make pushing easier.

Posture

  • Arrange your workspace so your body can be in a comfortable position.
  • Relax your arms, forearms and shoulders.
  • Avoid postures or positions that feel tense or painful.

Tools

  • Select tools that allow you to be in a comfortable position with a straight wrist.
  • Use kneepads.
  • Find cleaning tools that have wheels.
  • Use tools with extended handles, stools and ladders to limit overhead reaching.
  • To avoid bending, use extended handles and sit on a stool to reach lower objects.
  • Use carts to move things whenever possible.

Task changes

  • Alternate the hand you rely on to hold equipment and supplies.
  • Sweep dirt or dust into a pile, and pick it up with a vacuum.
  • Soak dirty objects for a while, so you can avoid forceful scrubbing.
  • Frequently change techniques when mopping, to alternate stress on muscles. (For example, vary the following: push/ pull; figure 8; rock side-to-side; etc.)
  • Alternate stressful tasks with less difficult ones.
  • Avoid twisting and bending at the waist while cleaning or moving large items.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.