This toolbox talk is on ergonomics, which is defined as the scientific discipline concerned with the fundamental understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system. Also the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall systems performance. In short ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.

Neutral postures are postures where the body is aligned and balanced while either sitting or standing, placing minimal stress on the body and keeping joints aligned. It minimize the stress applied to muscles, tendons, nerves and bones and allow for maximum control and force production. The opposite of a neutral posture is an “awkward posture.” Awkward postures must be avoided as far as reasonably possible.

The power zone for lifting is close to the body, between mi-thigh and mid-chest height. This zone is where the arms and back can lift the most with the least amount of effort. This can also be called the “handshake zone” or “comfort zone.” The principle here is that if you can “shake hands with your work”, you are minimizing excessive reach and maintaining a neutral posture. To learn more about ergonomics, download the full toolbox talk.

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