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Posts Tagged ‘Ergonomics’


I was in a meeting with a new client last week.  “Linda” (not her real name), is the Director of Environmental Health & Safety for a growing biotech firm.   Our firm has been brought in to address a growing number of Repetitive Strain Injuries in the company’s lab facilities.  “Linda” shared her frustrations with the company’s past approach to Repetitive Motion injuries;

“We wait until something bad happens, until it’s too late to avoid injury and the costs associated with the injury. We practice Whack-a-Mole Ergonomics.  When an employee complains of pain…WHACK…only then can I get them support.   Another issue in a different part of the company, WHACK…again, band-aid the issue with a product or even bring in an Ergonomist to take a closer look at that employees issues.  We spend all our time WHACKING and reacting; we need to get ahead of the issues.” 

Linda’s Whack-a-Mole analogy describes the reality in most companies; expertise and instruction is brought in after pain &/or injury.  When the average direct cost of a Musculoskeletal injury is $25,000 (that excludes indirect costs that average 4 x that number based on OSHA data) – the cost of Whack-a-Mole Ergonomics can add up quickly.  A significant part of our Ergonomic practice is working with client’s to build a PROACTIVE Ergonomics program within their company.  Following is an Action Plan you can use today, to take control of Ergonomic issues in your company, and leave the Whack-a-Mole approach behind.  For a deeper discussion on how to implement this program you can email me at cdavis@ergonomicedge.com.

Proactive Approach to ERGONOMICS:

Action 1.0

Build a business case on the value of the PROACTIVE approach to Ergonomics.  Leverage the resources that are available from OSHA, NIOSH, National Bureau of Labor & Statistics and academia – Cornell, UCLA and others.  Using your company’s historical OSHA recordable data; build an air-tight case for why the proactive approach is better business. Focus on the bottom line impact.

Action 2.0

With your business case in hand – pitch Executive leadership and secure commitment to a long-term Ergonomic program.

Action 3.0

Ensure Ergonomics is integrated into your fiscal planning cycle; the program must be integrated into your Environmental Health & Safety strategy. The EHS community may also need to be sold on the approach; share your business case. 

Action 4.0

Identify Ergonomic consulting resource for support of activity (in most cases companies do not have resident expertise).  Potential partner should have deep experience in task assessment and redesign across all company environments (Manufacturing, Material Handling, Warehousing, Office, Laboratory, Field etc). In addition, review firm’s methodology, ensure actions measurable (as you will be asked to demonstrate program value at some point – be ready for this – put onus on consultant/partner). Talk with current and past clients. 

Action 5.0 – Getting Started

5.1 – Build a Communication Plan around the launch and ongoing merchandising of your Ergonomic program. Included in this plan – Introduction to Ergonomics training for all employees (baseline understanding and value of Ergonomics), Company Champions Program – identify internal Ergonomic program Champions by functional area.

5.2 – Launch program with company-wide Pain & Discomfort Survey. It’s purpose – isolate work environments, tasks and employee categories with injury markers. Outcome – map out high/medium/low risk tasks – permits company to prioritize and align investments

5.3 – Isolate high risk tasks for assessment & redesign – launch Ergonomics work…

Building support and positive momentum is central to getting in front of Ergonomic issues.  If you have any questions, we’re here to help!

Some valuable links to assist you in building your Ergonomics business case:

Puget Sound Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Chapter Cost Benefit Analysis Calculator  – http://bit.ly/PugetHFESCalc

Cornell Ergonomics ROI Calculator – http://bit.ly/CornellROI

OSHA eTools – Computer Workstations – http://bit.ly/OSHAeTools

NIOSH – http://bit.ly/NIOSHErgo

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Being a naturally curious person, I kicked around cyberspace, looking for guidance on blogging before I started this ERGOLAB blog. Who are the current thought leaders? Who is really using blogging and other social media, like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In for real business? Would a blog add to our customer’s experience with Ergonomic Edge (our products and consulting business) or would it be a distraction?

During my search, I surfaced the book, “Six Pixels of Separation” by Mitch Joel. I read the book cover to cover in one day, started the ERGOLAB blog, and never looked back. I recommend this book to anyone looking to understand the power of social media. The marketplace is changing, relationships, personal and professional, are being forged in new ways. Buy the book. Read the book.

SO…what does this have to do with Ergonomics? I track Mitch Joel’s Six Pixel blog daily (it is so worth the time); a recent post on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), chatting about new trends in electronics seemed innocent enough. AND THEN WHAM, the import of Mitch’s comments hit me like the proverbial TON OF BRICKS. Our business, ERGONOMICS is going to change dramatically, because our customers are changing.

Our practice crosses many industries; we work with corporate Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) leadership to find injury drivers within any company environment. Manufacturing, Material Handling & Warehousing, Laboratory…the most common environment is the OFFICE; that magical area of cubicles, copiers and filing cabinets. Where the work is typically heads-down computing, many hours sitting in an office chair typing, talking and writing. Our Ergonomic Edge practice works with clients to design office environments that are human-friendly; provide the support, flexibility and adjustability every worker needs to maintain good ergonomic health. We market and sell Ergonomic seating and accessories products that support this work, the train employees on proper use and adjustment.

So, what Six Pixel comment triggered my epiphany? Take a look…

Our homes (like our offices) are fully connected.

In fact, as more and more devices like the iPhone, BlackBerry, laptops and netbooks take hold, all of us are (or can be) connected all of the time (and yes, this includes our cars as well). Think about it: How many people still go to a physical location to sit down and “surf the Web” in their home or office, compared to the number of people that now have laptops with wireless connections who are online wherever they are? (read the whole post – http://www.twistimage.com/blog/archives/embracing-the-new-business-of-new-media/)

The office, as we know it, is vanishing before our eyes. If you can work anywhere, at any time with the new ‘connectedness’ and new mobile tools – why is your office necessary? Office space costs real money; tricking out the office space with cubicles, desks, chairs and tools adds even more costs. Mr Corporate Bean Counter is asking that question right now…do we need to have offices when our people can work in their homes, at the kitchen table, with little or no impact on productivity?

The office will go the way of the dinosaur, the mastodon and the XFL (remember the XFL…it was the NFL but edgier?).

So….as Ergonomists, we’ll have new challenges:

  • Our purview will extend into the HOME of our corporate client’s employees.
  • No longer will a large chunk of employees all be working within a predictable, standard office environment model – now, every home environment will be different.
  • Due diligence will increase at the worker level.
  • Customization time will increase at the worker level.
  • Old tools, Ergonomic products and accessories will need to be adapted (and some will not make the cut).
  • New tools, new Ergonomic products and accessories will be invented to support this new mobile workforce.

The real challenge.   When the corporate pendulum swings from one paradigm to the next, the shift tends to stop at the extreme. EHS leadership, Safety & Health consultants & Ergonomists must ensure the remote employee is adequately supported in their alternative work environments with tools and training. There will be costs associated with this support. The corporate bean counters will need this guidance. Tools, products and training, on some levels will still be  necessary.

I am interested in your POV on this topic.

Where do you think the ‘office’ is heading?   What kinds of tools will this new worker need?

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At ERGOLAB, we spend a lot of time with prospective clients, assisting them in building a business case for why Ergonomics must be included in their company’s  Health & Safety programs for the coming year.  The pitch takes data;  hard proof that Ergonomics delivers measurable, bottom line impact to an enterprise.  We include findings from our completed programs, as well as data from the Public sector resources; OSHA, NIOSH and academia.  Of these outside resources, no report is more meaningful and valuable than the Workplace Safety Index.    

For 10 years, Liberty Mutual, in partnership with the US Bureau of Labor & Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance have tracked the leading causes of workplace injury and the aggregated costs associated with those injuries.  The report, known as the 2009 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index or WSI, was made available this week. This year’s report captures injury data from calendar year 2007. The report deep dives the Top 10 injury categories, as these injuries are responsible for just over 86% of all costs associated with workplace injury.    

TOP 10 – Category / Cost / % of total    

  1. Overexertion – Injuries caused from  lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, or carrying a heavy object  – $12.7B, 24%
  2. Fall on same level – $7.7B, 14.6%
  3. Fall to lower level – $6.2B, 11%
  4. Bodily reaction – injuries from slips or trips without falling – $5.4B, 11.2%
  5. Struck by object – $4.7B, 9%
  6. Highway incident – $2.5B, 4.7%
  7. Caught In/ Compressed By – $2.1B, 3.9%
  8. Repetitive Motion – $2.0B, 3.8%
  9. Struck Against Object – $2.0B, 3.8%
  10. Assaults or Violent Acts – $0.6B, 1.1%

    

 What do these numbers tell us?    

ERGONOMICS IS MAKING AN IMPACT.    

Over the 10 year span of the research, Repetitive Motion injuries like carpal tunnel and tendonitis have declined by over 35%.  Proactive Ergonomic strategies, like task assessment and redesign, are making an impact.  In particular, the work done in improving working conditions in OFFICE ENVIRONMENTS has delivered results.  Office technology like computers, keyboards, and computer mice are more ergonomically designed, informed by years of Human Factors & Ergonomics research.  The office environment is better equipped to support the SEATED human body for longer periods of time; as an example, office chair design has leaped forward, providing improved support and adjustability.  Improvements in other tools like keyboards trays, task lighting and adjustable worksurfaces ensure neutral posture and reduce/eliminate extensions beyond the reach envelope.      

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT – ERGONOMICS CAN DO MORE    

OVEREXERTION driven injuries, from lifting, pushing, pulling an object have dropped by 5.7% over the ten year span of the study, some improvement, however more work needs to be done.  The human body is being asked to perform physical tasks BEYOND its abilities.  The bottom line, these work tasks must be identified, assessed and redesigned.     

In an earlier blog post we discussed the impact Patient Handling is having on Nursing / Healthcare Provider Safety.  Everyday, the American nurse lifts an average of 1.5 tons of weight.  The result; injury and lost productivity.  This is one example of many existing in US business today.  Ergonomic task assessment and redesign is essential; the cost to the US economy is staggering; $24B in direct costs.      

COSTS CONTINUE TO RISE.

Even as the number and severity of workplace injuries decline (or stay flat). Costs continue to increase.  Over the ten year span of the study (1998 to 2007), costs  increased between 5.4% to 5.8%  year to year on average.   Not surprising, as healthcare costs everywhere are spiralling out of control.  This cost escalation only reinforces the need to continue to focus on injury reduction and elimination.  Of course, Ergonomics can and will play a role in this activity.       

Are there work tasks within your business that you’d like to discuss?  We’re here to help.    

For a closer look at the WSI, use the following link – http://bit.ly/8513J9    

 

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In many parts of the world, the corner tavern, bar, tap-room, saloon or pub  is the place to be on a Friday night. The work week has come to a close and it’s time to catch-up with friends, hoist a few, have some fun. (Yes, to those interested, strains of Billy Joel’s Piano Man are playing in my head).

 When bellying up to the bar to order that next round, take a look at the design and layout of the space.  My guess, your local pub does not look that much different from the bar around the corner or around the world. Why?  Bar design is iconic and time-tested. Centuries of learning have gone into the placement of pub elements.  At the center of the design rationale;  ERGONOMICS.

Ergonomics is the science of designing an environment to address and fit human needs; while it is more often applied in a work environment (ergo means work in Latin),  in the case of a tavern environment – it is about creating a space of physical support and comfort.  Ever notice how easy is it to lose track of time in a pub?  It’s not just the Guinness or martini causing this time warp; the environment is designed to wrap you in a cocoon. Warm, cozy, comfortable, leaving the pub is like leaving the womb. 

Let’s start with the height of the bar; 42 inches. Why? That height is the most ergonomic height for a top that services both the seated and standing user.  Seated in a 29″ to 31″ bar stool, a 42″ bar counter is ideal for the seated bar patron. It is also a comfortable height for most people to lean against.  Additionally the bar top is in easy reach of a standing person so they can set their food and drink down without leaning over.

Take a look at the foot rest at the base of the bar. Not just a decorative element, this footrest permits the standing patron to alter their stance and posture from time to time while standing at the bar for long periods of time.  An old Ergonomics adage “the best position, is the NEXT position”; this footrest provides standing customers with a multitude of options over time.   This means you can STAY and imbibe longer, more comfortably.

So, next time you are relaxing at your favorite neighborhood watering hole, remember, the design is no accident.  Ergonomics had something to do with it.

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It’s the year 2020 and you’re in the hospital for a minor elective procedure that requires an overnight stay. Lying in your bed, you try to call for a nurse. You send your Tweet to the nurses desk. No nurse. You Tweet again, and again, and again. Where is the nurse???? The nurse never comes, because there are no nurses.

A bit farfetched, but the American health system has a problem brewing that has nothing to do with the current healthcare reform legislation. According to Marla Salmon, Dean of the University of Washington School Of Nursing;

“We’re actually at a crisis point in terms of the shortage of nurses,” (Source – http://bit.ly/81QGZs)

The American hospital is the lowest common denominator of critical and acute-care. A 24/7/365 operation, the hospital is the convergence point for all issues related to healthcare; costs, insurance (or lack there-of), quality of care, quality of equipment. Nurses make up over 60% of the average hospital’s staff; in any great hospital, nurses are the backbone of the organization and serve as the ‘face’ of the hospital to the patient. It is the nurse, providing minute-to-minute care that most directly impacts a patient’s perceptions of their hospital experience and the overall quality, real or perceived, of patient care. Given the nurses importance in the hospital community, following is a very alarming statistic:

In 2008, 100,000 nursing jobs were left open in the United States; this number is expected to surpass 1,000,000 by the year 2023. (Washington: Health Resources and Services Administration)

WHY?

 No one to teach – nursing schools losing educators

 Young people not selecting nursing as a career path

 50% of first year nurses leave the profession

 33% of senior nurses plan on leaving early due to burn-out, physical issues related to on-the-job demands (source: AMN Healthcare, survey of 1,830 nurses age 45-60)

 

NURSING IS A DANGEROUS PROFESSION or “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Patient”

Senior nurses are leaving the profession in droves due to the PHYSICAL CHALLENGES of patient care. Did you know Nursing and other ‘patient handling’ intensive healthcare roles have one of the highest incidences of work-related back problems of all occupations? Understandable when you hear the cumulative weight lifted by a nurse in one typical 8-hour shift is equal to 1.8 tons. TONS!

Patient handling is the #1 cause of Musculoskeletal Disorders among nurses.

The incidence rates continue to climb, and the direct and indirect costs associated with back injuries for nurses is $20 billion annually. Over 750,000 work days are lost annually as a result of back injuries in nursing, with an estimated 40,000 nurses reporting illnesses from back pain each year.

WHAT ARE THE HOSPITALS DOING ABOUT THIS?

With this resource crisis looming, hospital administrators are scrambling to position their hospital or health network as the ‘employer of choice’ for nurses. Nurses are recruited  like NFL free agents; signing bonuses, car allowances, flexible schedules, and front-loaded tuition reimbursements. In addition, Hospitals are stepping up efforts to keep senior nursing staff. Spa visits, entertainment nights, recognition events; yet still the nursing resource gap continues to widen.

ERGOLAB’S Point-of-View:

The healthcare industry must shift their thinking, shift dollars into programs that drive TRUE change and improvement, not just cosmetic changes.

ERGONOMIC PROGRAMS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Enlightened hospital organizations are leading the way, implementing aggressive ERGONOMIC programs that drive positive change and make them the “Hospital Employer of Choice” among healthcare workers of all categories; nurses – seasoned and entry-level, aides and orderlies, technicians and other categories. The ERGOLAB team of Ergonomicsts works with hospitals to build comprehensive Ergonomic programs focusing on Patient Handling and Worker Safety. These programs are proven to drive down on-the-job injuries, increasing job satisfaction and staffer retention.

Our programs focus on (4) areas; Cultural Change, Training, Tools, and Environmental Re-Design. The most important changes are CULTURAL.   Hospital leadership must elevate EMPLOYEE SAFETY and well-being to the same level of importance as Patient Safety. Research shows that Employee Safety and Patient Safety are DIRECTLY connected. A safe and healthy Employee positively impacts the Patient.

At present, 65% of hospitals have some type of Safe Patient Handling program in place; program efficacy is mixed. Leading the way is the work of the VA Hospital networks; their Safe Patient Handling Programs is serving as the model for the private sector.  For more information, follow this link to an article detailing the VA’s work and private sector programs under development –  http://bit.ly/7sNPXx.  

Ergonomics is not the sole answer to our country’s nursing shortage; it must be part of a hospital’s strategy to drive nurse retention,  increase PRODUCTIVE days and reduce workers compensation costs.  Cost savings from Ergonomics could be redirected into additonal recruiting and retention programs.  Ergonomics can help.

 

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“In my 28 years of attending the CES and participating in it and being a part of it and running it for most of that time, I can honestly say there will be more innovation at this show than any one in history,” Gary Shapiro said.   (President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association on CNN.com )

The clock is ticking…the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens in only 3 days.   The annual Bacchanalia of gadget freaks, tech-heads and gamers, CES new product REVEALS will dominate newswires for the next few weeks.  You, the global consumer, will be inundated with marketing messages that promise tools and technology that improve your life, your work, make you a better person (LOL).  

Our ERGOLAB team is a skeptical bunch. Ergonomists tend to view words like innovation a little suspiciously. It doesn’t promise improvement within an existing paradigm; only something new.  History shows us that it’s the exceptional brand that takes human ERGONOMIC needs into consideration when developing a new product.

When wading through CES RSS feeds, use caution, many of the products will fail to live up to a simple Ergonomic Assessment.   Our ERGOLAB team will be evaluating some of the new computing and communication tools; we will share our thoughts on this blog.

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The primary objective of American business is profit.  Profit determines winners and losers.   Whoever makes the most money, WINS.   (note – I believe in the purity of the profit imperative….to quote Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street; “Greed is good. Greed works”   Greed employs  people, builds nations, is the catalyst for innovation.)

That’s why I cannot get my head around why American business is so against a closer look at workplace injuries like Cumulative Trauma Disorders, Musculoskeletal Disorders and Repetitive Strain Injuries.  The data is clear; the costs associated with these injuries are significant, i.e. they are a drain on company resources…a drain on PROFITS.  The costs to proactively address injury driven by poor Ergonomic design are lower than the reactive costs of worker injury; workers compensation, healthcare treatment etc. 

So..simple  math.  Embrace a proactive Ergonomic strategy; INCREASE company profits. 

Still, American business hesitates.  

Glenn Spencer, executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative, said Solis so far has been willing to listen to some of his group’s concerns. But he worries most about the possibility that Labor officials will try to revive costly ergonomics rules. Such rules would force businesses to redesign work spaces to protect employees from repetitive stress injuries.   (Source – http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wirestory?id=9460816&page=3)

A nudge is necessary; that nudge coming from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.  After 1 year in her cabinet position, Secretary Solis continues to turn up the heat on business.    In her words,

there’s a new sheriff in town.

In 12 months, Secretary Solis has done more to improve workplace safety, than the former administration accomplished in 8 years.   More inspectors, penalties with teeth and over 90 planned regulatory enhancements.  Business needed a wake-up call; mission accomplished.  

Labor Secretary Solis’ report card for 2009?   A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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With 2009 in the rearview mirror, my thoughts turn to the promise of 2010. A New Year is like newly fallen snow; gorgeous, pristine, undefiled, PERFECT.  Full of promise and potential; 2010 awaits each of us…what do you plan on doing this year?  My guess is that health, family, love, and work are all high on the list; more this (e.g., exercise), less that (e.g., body fat).  Our ERGOLAB team would like to offer up some resolution suggestions specific to your ERGONOMIC well-being in 2010.   Embracing our suggestions will improve your health and make you a  better partner, parent, friend, or employee.

Ergonomic Resolution #1:

Request an ERGONOMIC EVALUATION from my employer.  Musculoskeletal Disorders (or MSD’s) like carpal tunnel or tendonitis, can be the result of the cumulative trauma that comes from long-term use of a badly designed home or office workstation.  Secure a baseline assessment from a qualified Ergonomist; those back and head aches that you suffered from in 2009 could be eradicated by some simple workstation adjustments. 

Ergonomic Resolution #2:

Know the risks!  Increase your own knowledge and understanding of Ergonomic risk factors.  In the US, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration) invests millions of your tax dollars in building ‘how-to’ guides on Ergonomics research and education. Take advantage of these free tools.  Many times, a low or no-cost improvement will drive huge benefit to you and your long-term health.  Here is a link to OSHA’s guidance and quick tips on computer workstation design; http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/index.html.

Ergonomic Resolution #3:

EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE.  Regular exercise increases the body’s resistance to injury from bad Ergonomic design.  A strong body is more resilient; increase your core body strength to improve body posture.  This resolution isn’t about fitting into that size 4 black dress; strength training and regular stretching is the best prescription for good Ergonomic health.

Ergonomic Resolution #4:

Ok, we’re going to say it…buy a GREAT truly Ergonomic office chair.  Yes, we sell chairs at our Ergonomic Edge web site (www.ergonomicedge.com)  Yes, this recommendation might seem self-serving.  HOWEVER…research tells us that American spend an average of  8+ hours a day sitting at a desk.  You spend as much time in your chair as you do your bed at night.   Your office chair matters.    If you can’t afford a quality Ergonomic office chair new, scour the after-market for a great brand used.

What to look for in a quality Ergonomic Office Chair:

– ADJUSTABILITY.  No chair alone is Ergonomic.   The ability to adjust to you, your body and tasks you are asking your body to perform is what makes a chair ERGONOMIC.   The chair should provide on-the-fly adjustment in the armrests (up and down, in and out), seat pan (in and out, up and down), seat height (up and down), lumbar region (can be manual or automatic).  What is most important; the chair must get you to a neutral posture for the task at hand; computing, gaming, talking on the phone etc. 

– Quality Construction.  The selected manufacturer should provide a comprehensive warranty on all elements on the chair, particularly the adjustment mechanism. Our favorite chair manufacturer, Humanscale, offers a 15 year warranty on their adjustment mechanisms.  We have clients who have used the same chair for years.

Happy New Year to one and all.  The ERGOLAB team wishes all of you the best in 2010.  We resolve to keep sharing our ideas and Ergonomic guidance in 2010; we look forward to your questions and comments in the coming year. 

Good Health!

ERGOLAB team,

Frances, Cyndi, and Rich….

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Every year I participate in a Secret Santa gift swap with family, our spend limit is $100, so this usually allows your Secret Santa to buy several different gifts.  This year, I had only one item on my list; I had stopped into a Brookstone at the local mall and fell in love with their n•a•p® Massaging Bed Rest (picture to left).

I am a big late night reader, this product seemed to have it all, soft fabric, foam cushions, LED , massage all for the low, low price of $99.  Well I received my present, unwrapped it  and I took it for a test drive last night. A letdown of major proportions. 

I am so disappointed that this product did not live up to its potential. The idea is a good one, the design elements are smart and make sense individually. What’s unfortunate is that these elements don’t work in the final integrated product. 

Design elements I like:

  1. Ultra-plush, NapSoft® material, LOVE IT, soft and cushy. I own and LOVE Brookstone’s slippers.
  2. Built-in massage, what’s not to like.
  3. Focused, super-bright LED light bends into any position – a great feature.
  4. Side pockets for remote, books etc
  5. Cup-holder in the LEFT arm
  6. Folds flat for easy storage under the bed

So….with all these fantastic features WHY doesn’t this product work?   My guess…this product designers didn’t investigate how people would use this product in the real world.  This product is a real world example of bad ERGONOMIC DESIGN.  

So…what doesn’t work?

  • I am 5’6″ tall with an average torso length – the product is not large enough to accomodate someone of my AVERAGE size.  Did anyone test a product prototype during the design process?  This design deficiency should have been obvious.  
  • Lacks adjustability – the lower 5th percentile of the population (under 5’2″)  are the ONLY people who might find this Bed Rest comfortable. 
    • The head rest on the product is not adjustable up/down; the headrest pushes my head forward, putting pressure on the neck and shoulders. 
    • The armrest design is flawed; they are too short to support my arms comfortably, at too tight an angle to the torso (a tight 90 degrees) and don’t adjust in/out to allow for comfortable arm position.
    • The Bed Rest does not recline, it adjusts ONLY to a 95 – 100 degree angle. Ergonomics and Human Factors 101 tells us the human body is most comfortable when the waist is at a 120 degree angle in the recline position.  The forced position will cause lower back compression and discomfort.
  • The cup holder is a useless feature. With the armrests being too short, the cup holder falls under the elbow. First, this causes friction and discomfort with the elbow, second, anything placed in the cup holder will most certainly be knocked over.  

So….today I am heading back to Brookstone to return my gift.  Now where is that gift receipt???

What have I learned?

TEST the product…don’t just fall in love with the features.   (Apply this lesson whenever you are buying an Ergonomic product – secure a demo if you can, use the product for a few days to see if it works for you)

Considering that I work everyday with design-obsessed Ergonomists and Human Factors experts, you’d think I would have asked around BEFORE selecting the product. 

So….I am still in the market for a Bed Rest with all the bells and whistles that actually works…..any suggestions?

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