How to choose a good Ergonomics Expert

Why use a Chartered Ergonomist?

Chartered ergonomists are usually labelled chartered ergonomics consultants by their employers. To be chartered with the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human factors (CIEHF) demonstrates that the ergonomist has the following:

  • A degree in ergonomics and human factors from an approved course (3 to 4 years of education)
  • Has demonstrated proficiency in ergonomics and human factors through various projects
  • Has been validated by peers through references
  • Has an adequate number of years of experience
  • They will have the post nominal letters of C.Erg.HF
  • Fellowship is only granted to highly experienced chartered ergonomists who can then display the post nominals FIEHF (Fellow of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors)

Having said the above it is always important to select an ergonomist according to the relevancy of their work.  This is easily demonstrated through previous work and references.

There are many professionals from other disciplines such as physiotherapy, facilities, psychology who claim expertise in ergonomics however they usually will have not gone through the years of study focussing solely on ergonomics and their experience may not be as significant, of course there may be a few exceptions.

Why use a Chartered Ergonomics Consultancy?

A chartered ergonomics consultancy is an organisation that has undertaken significant work in the ergonomics field.  The chartered ergonomics consultancy will have gone through a rigorous vetting process by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors.  They will have provided examples of projects in the various areas of expertise.  They will have had to provide references from clients which will have been verified by the CIEHF.  They will also need to have professional indemnity insurance.

Using a Chartered Consultancy will ensure the following:

  • Good quality ergonomics work
  • Employment of chartered ergonomists
  • A valid track record
  • Valid professional and public liability insurance

It is important to note the date when a consultancy was first registered as this is indicative of how many years of experience the chartered ergonomics consultancy may have.

IS being Chartered with IOSH important?

Becoming Chartered with IOSH takes a lot of effort and hard work.  You usually have to undergo a separate degree in health and safety to achieve this.  Only a few ergonomists can claim that they are also Chartered with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. CMIOSH are the post nominals that can be used and this would ensure that the ergonomist understands the context of health and safety that ergonomics sits in.

Is OSHCR registration important?

OSHCR is the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register.  This is another accreditation that ensures that the individual you are working with is vetted and has the relevant insurances in place.

Summary

Visit the CIEHF website to help in the selection of ergonomics consultants and consultancies.  Look at their date of registration to help evaluate the number of years of experience. Ask for previous examples of work and copies of their insurance certificates.

Using a chartered fellow of the CIEHF will allow you to work with the most experienced and respected ergonomists in their field.  Working with a chartered ergonomist / fellow who is also CMIOSH (Chartered Member of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors) will be a great reassurance of working with an ergonomist with a rounded experience in the context of health and safety.

This will ensure you get the Chartered Ergonomist suitable for your project and enable you to achieve the best results in implementing ergonomics and human factors.

Workstation Set-Up Quick Guide

Workstation and Chair Set-up checklist

Here is a simple workstation set up guide which can be used to ensure people are set up correctly.  We have compiled this through our many years of assessment of workstations.

Working posture: Sit ‘straight on’ to your workstation, head upright, shoulders relaxed, upper arms by your side, elbows at right angles just above desk height, forearms parallel to the floor, a 90 degree plus angle between your trunk and thighs (open angle) with thighs sloping

slightly downwards and knees slightly lower than pelvis, feet flat on the floor or a foot rest.

ItemInformationX
1Seat Height·      Elbows just above desk top with shoulders relaxed

·      90 degree plus angle between trunk and thigh

·      Feet flat on the floor, shorter users may require a footrest if desk is not adjustable

2Seat Depth·      Buttocks right at the back of the seat

·      Gap of three fingers from the edge of the seat to the back of the knees

3Backrest Height·      Small of the back adequately supported by lumbar support in the backrest
4Armrests·      With shoulders relaxed and elbows at right angles, armrests should touch underside of forearms

·      Rotate, slide or adjust height of armrests to ensure they don’t clash with the desk

5Chair Tilt Tension·      Adjust tension to suit your bodyweight, when feet are off the floor you should be able to ‘float’ in the chair
6Chair Tilt Lock·      Keep chair unlocked most of the time to encourage healthy movement

·      Lock chair in upright position for short periods when required

7Height Adjustable Desk·      Stand upright, shoulder relaxed and elbows at right angles

·      Set the desk height so that it just touches the underside of your forearms when elbow are at right angles

·      Sit for 40 minutes and stand for 20 minutes every hour, this will give you the maximum benefit through postural change

8Keyboard·      Wrists in neutral, horizontal position with elbows at right angles

·      Keyboard directly in front of you at a distance to allow you to maintain relaxed shoulders

·      Space in front of keyboard to rest your wrists on

9Mouse·      Mouse close to the side of the keyboard

·      When manoeuvring mouse keep wrist straight with the heel of your hand supported by the desk

·      Remove hand from mouse when not using it

·      Use keyboard shortcuts whenever possible

·      If using mouse intensively then move keyboard to the side and place mouse in line with shoulders at forearm length with elbows at right angles

10Screen·      Approx arm’s length away from you

·      Top of screen should be in horizontal line of sight

·      Screen should be directly in front of you unless you refer to other documents more often (copying from text, in case of touch typists)

·      Control glare and reflections at source by the use of blinds

 

11Documents·      Should be placed to the side of the screen or between the screen and keyboard by using a document holder
12Equipment location·      Most frequently used items should be placed close by

·      If right handed place mouse on your right and phone on your left and vice versa

·      If using the phone very often a headset should be utilised

13Breaks·      Take shorter frequent breaks rather than a single long one

·      Take advantage of natural breaks away from your desk (i.e. filing, printing, making drinks)

14Healthy Movement·      Introduce healthy movement when at your desk (i.e. moving feet and legs, stretching)

 

15Vision·      Rest eyes away from monitor by looking at distant objects

·      Ensure you are aware of eye test arrangements

 

16Reporting problems·      Report any discomfort to your line manager or occupational health department as soon as possible

 

Download the Workstation set-up guide here