What is ergonomics

You may have heard the term ergonomics floating around work- but what does it mean?

Ergonomics is the study of employees and their job, with focus on the tasks and environment. Ergonomics is important for employers to identify and implement approaches to increase productivity and employee As well, by looking at the tasks and employee environment, implementing proper ergonomics decrease psychological and physical stress on employees (HSE, 2017).

What is looked at when we look at ergonomics?

It is important to look at the whole picture! This involves posture and movements including sitting, standing, lifting, pulling are completed. As well as the environment- how is the noise, desk, lighting, space and even temperature (Dul et al 1993).

Ergonomics effects on you and your pain.

When we get patients with back or neck pain we ask about their occupation and workplace. It is important to keep your body in a natural and neutral position through work to minimize stress and strain on the body- placing you at an increased risk of developing pain and workplace associated injuries!

Workplace recommendations


  • For office based workers it is important to keep the body in neutral alignment.
  • Sit in chair with knees bent to 90 degrees
  • Thighs and low back are supported on chair
  • Shoulders down and back- away from the ears
  • Arms relaxed with 90 degree bend at elbows
  • Screen at eye level- or just below- about one arms length away
  • Feet flat on ground or foot support

For individuals who work in a labour based job


  • Keep lifting close to body
  • Bend at knees not hips
  • Avoid twisting, lifting over head, carrying on one side or reaching for loads
  • Use aids as needed

(Health and Safety Authority. Nd)

Proper ergonomics is also not limited to the workplace! This relationship between posture, movements and environment can be implemented in your everyday life including chores, using your laptop as well as even driving your car!


Yes even sitting in your car! This is an important area of ergonomics that is often over looked. With almost 1.2 million people traveling to work by car for an average of 30 minutes each way (Central Statistics Office, 2016), our posture in the car can impact us by increasing prolonged stress and strained positions!


  • Raise your car seat height high- without head touching the ceiling!
  • Move the seat to wheel so you can comfort ability touch the peddles and reach the wheel
  • Adjust the seat and head rest slightly behind 90 degrees- head supported
  • Adjust your mirrors! This will be your guide if you start to slump and sink out of the position as you drive.

If you have neck or back pain that is aggravated at work and would like physiotherapy help to get you back to or stay at work contact us today at 045-853726 or https://physiotherapyworks.ie/book-online/.

Additionally, if you are an employer who is looking to work with a reliable company to reduce absence from work, improve productivity and help support your employees in return to work, please see our corporate physiotherapy page for more information. https://physiotherapyworks.ie/physiotherapy-corporate-service/

By Tara Moore MISCP



Central Statistics Office, 2016: http://www.cso.ie/en/csolatestnews/presspages/2017/census2016summaryresults-part1/

Health and Safety Authority. nd. Ergonomics in the workplace.http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Occupational_Health/Ergonomics.pdf

HSE, 2017. Ergnomics. National Health & Safety Function, WHWU. https://www.hse.ie/eng/staff/safetywellbeing/healthsafetyand%20wellbeing/fast%20fact%20ergonomics.pdf

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