Healthy School Facility Environments

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Ergonomics

Image:  Healthy School Facility Environments - ErogonimicsErgonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of workers. Computer use by school staff and students requires good ergonomics. Frequent and heavy lifting as well as pushing, pulling, or carrying of heavy objects among custodians and food-service workers is also an ergonomic problem in schools. And bus drivers are exposed to prolonged awkward postures and vibration. The level of risk depends on how long a person is exposed to these conditions, how often they are exposed, and the level of exposure.

Poor ergonomics can lead to Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs), which are musculoskeletal disorders caused or made worse by the work environment. WMSDs can cause severe and debilitating symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling; reduced worker productivity; lost time from work; temporary or permanent disability; inability to perform job tasks; and an increase in workers compensation costs. Musculoskeletal disorders of any cause are among the most prevalent medical problems, affecting 7% of the population and accounting for 14% of physician visits and 19% of hospital stays.

KEY RESOURCES FOR:

Parents and Students

School Ergonomics Program Guidelines, Cornell University, 2000. With the number of computers in classrooms increasing every day, many schools are beginning to institute ergonomics programs to show students, teachers, and parents how to reduce the risks of computer-related injuries. This document is part of such an ergonomics program, in the form of guidelines that have been developed for the parents of school children.

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School Staff

Computer ergonomics prevents pain, 2007, NJEA

DOH Computer Workstation Guidelines, 2005. Helps managers provide computer operators with ergonomically designed furniture and equipment, workstations with well-designed lighting, appropriate training and vision care information. The Guidelines also serve as an educational tool for managers and employees regarding the adverse effects of poorly designed computer workstations.

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School Administrators

DOH Computer Workstation Guidelines, 2005. Helps managers provide computer operators with ergonomically designed furniture and equipment, workstations with well-designed lighting, appropriate training and vision care information. The Guidelines also serve as an educational tool for managers and employees regarding the adverse effects of poorly designed computer workstations.

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Architects and Engineers

DOH Computer Workstation Guidelines, 2005. Helps managers provide computer operators with ergonomically designed furniture and equipment, workstations with well-designed lighting, appropriate training and vision care information. The Guidelines also serve as an educational tool for managers and employees regarding the adverse effects of poorly designed computer workstations.

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Other Resources

CUErgo presents information from research studies and class work by students and faculty in the Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group

NIOSH Topic Page on Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders

OSHA Topic Page on Ergonomics

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