Everyone seems to think that office ergonomic assessments are pretty simple, just follow the Canadian Standard Guidelines and dimensions and we should be perfect. I guess I am a super nerd in getting a much bigger picture when I enter someone’s computer work space to help reduce their pain and symptoms. One telling assessment was very mind opening and difficult for myself and the client. This office worker had a third stage musculoskeletal disorder, meaning they had been in pain for over a year. Other health care professionals did their best with working on the symptoms, now it was time for me to get to the root cause, repetitive, awkward postures of computer work.
In performing the full assessment, I tried to change their seated posture to extend back 5 degrees from where they had been used to sitting. This small change quickly brought anxiety and fear to my client. A gradual step by step approach helped my client to move physically and mentally to a healthier work posture. This is why reading just a guideline does not reflect the larger picture of ease of movement. The person in the workstation is much more complex and interesting. This assessment reaffirmed why I love what I do and how reducing someone’s pain by 30% makes me continue to do these assessments, one person at a time.