Small Time Ergonomics

When the Bush administration recently repealed the OSHA Ergonomics Standard small businesses breathed a sigh of relief. But wait a second. Even though there is not yet a law requiring ergonomic adjustments to improve your work environment doesn’t mean it won’t help your business. In the most recent Entrepreneur, the monthly magazine targeted at small business owners, an article on ergonomics emphasized that an ergonomic program is actually a good idea for small business owners. The article states, “OSHA may not be breathing down your neck, but making your workplace ergonomically sound may just be good business.”

Some suggestions made in the article are the following: Do some research on ergonomics Educate your employees about musculoskeletal disorders associated with the work they do including the tell-tale signs and the risks involved in repetitive activities and awkward positioning Make the proper adjustments to your workplace

Rachel Michael from Ergo Web is quoted as saying that “You will see improvements in injury rates, compensation costs and insurance premiums, and you’ll reduce costs for hiring temporary workers to replace injured people. There are also studies that show it’s great for worker retention.” Small business owners can use any edge they can get. When you can implement a program that makes your workplace a better environment to work, your employees appreciate that on many levels. Health, productivity, and overall job satisfaction will increase.

Neutral Posture Ergonomics :

You’ve seen inexpensive “ergonomic” chairs and others that promise to fit your needs. You may even sit in one of these and pay the price of saving a few bucks in the short run. Now try the chair that rated highest in overall adjustability and comfort in the World Bank Ergonomic Study. Neutral Posture has a chair that’s right for everyone. Contact us about ordering your next office chair – the best chair you’ll ever work in. Please read on at:

Product Review:

Air Packs Children as young as preschoolers carry backpacks filled with books, and it could cause harm to young bodies. According to a Simmons College study, 55 percent of children carry their backpacks the wrong way. “The most serious problem is that children are reporting back pain,” Dr. Shelley Goodgold of Simmons College said. “They can have shoulder pain, they can have tingling down the arm.” The pain is not only uncomfortable to children, it can put them at future risk. “It felt like there was a lot of weight bearing down on my shoulders,” Harry Edwards, 10, said. Choosing the right backpack and wearing it properly is important, Goodgold said. “The load should be light, and I’d say 10 to 15 percent of the body weight, and also there are backpacks that have ergonomic designs or features that are better,” she said. Children should also have a pack with more than one compartment, with the heavier weight near the back. Hip and chest belts should be worn to keep the weight in the right areas.

Goodgold gave three warning signs of a heavy or improperly worn backpack: struggling to get it on, changing posture to carry it or complaining about pain. Any of those mean that it’s time to lighten up and most likely lift the pack up and bring it closer in to the back. The Air Pack line of backpacks does just that. I’ve been using the Air Pack for several weeks now and here’s what I’ve found. The FACTS – Function, Aesthetics, Comfort, Tell me more – about the Air Pack.

Function: Using the concept of innovative ‘air technology,’ a unique strap system, and triangular bag shape, Air Packs developed bags which give ‘ergonomically correct’ support without the fussiness of a waist belt and the use of only one strap. The bag makes you stand up straight and are easy to use. An air filled pack at the base of the bag sits at the users lumbar area to prevent the bag from hanging too low and weighing too heavily on the users spine and shoulders. The result is that the load is put in the right place, hugging the body, so the load is carried efficiently. This prevents injuries by using stronger muscles and taking weight off of smaller, weaker ones.

The bag I’ve been using has 6 outer pockets, each with multiple inner pockets. This bag was designed to carry a laptop and books in addition to other large objects. The inner pockets make storage of computer discs, a cell phone, PDA device, pens, a water bottle etc. very manageable. The air pack can be simply be filled to the user’s personal size and needs. Shoulder strap adjustments are made very easily with top and bottom clasps. There is also a durable polyurethane handle for carrying the bag with one hand when necessary.

Aesthetics: Each of the Air Pack designs look much like other backpacks and shoulder bags. They come in sleek designs and several different colors and sizes. This is not a bag that’s all about function. They look cool, too. In addition the IllumiNITE fabric provides safety at night.

Comfort: Air Packs are all about comfort. Keeping a load close to the body reduces a load significantly. The closer it is, the more it appears to simply be an extension of the body. Most backpacks and shoulder bags hang loosely and unbalance the user. Air Packs stay close and feel snug. In addition to the lumbar air pack, the shoulder straps are also filled with air, providing soft contact on sensitive shoulder areas. Because they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, there is an Air Pack for everyone.

Tell me more: Prices range from $29.95 to $124.95 You can purchase all of the Air Packs bags at

Tip of the month:

Prevent neck, upper back, and arm pain with proper spinal alignment during all strenuous or prolonged activities. Avoid postures such as forward head, tilting, or rotating in order to promote symmetrical weight bearing on the spine. Your head weighs approximately 10 pounds and if not supported properly can cause great strain down the chain.

ErgErcise of the Month:

Muscle Pose Stretch:
Position: Sitting 1. Place your head in the neutral position, looking straight ahead. 2. Place your left hand on the back of your head. 3. Keeping your hand on your head, rotate your head half-way toward your left shoulder (45 degrees). 4. Keeping your back straight, gently pull your head toward your left knee. Hold For: 10 seconds Repetitions: 5-10 times 5. Repeat to your right side using your right hand. Purpose: Stretches the levator scapula (muscle in the back of your neck that holds your head up). Increases blood flow through the neck and into and out of the head and arm. Prevents neck, upper back and arm pain.

Reproduced with permission from ErgAerobics, Inc. an ergonomics consulting firm specializing in the prevention of workplace injuries. For more information, please call 212.388.1917 or point your browser to

Click here for Newsletter from Dec. 2000 to Jan. 2001

Click here for Newsletter from Jan. 2000 to Feb. 2001

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