Ergonomics is the science of fitting the job, equipment and workplace to the worker. It takes the worker's capabilities and limitations into account to ensure that the tasks, equipment, information and environment suit each worker. Proper ergonomic design can increase productivity and reduce job-related injuries, like repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and lead to long-term disability.

One of the goals of ergonomics is to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs are caused by repetitive micro-trauma to the soft tissue of the body, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, low back strain and tendonitis. People who have MSDs frequently experience decreased grip strength, decreased range of motion of joints, low back pain, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet and joint swelling.

The most common reasons people develop MSDs are:
  • Awkward postures
  • Repetition of an activity
  • Contact stress from a body part receiving too much pressure during the day
  • Excess force exertion
  • Environmental stressors from temperatures, light exposure or vibrations
To assess the fit between a person and their work duties, ergonomists consider the job being done, the demands on the worker, the equipment used and the job task information used. The aim is to find the best fit between the worker and their job conditions. Some of the things an ergonomist can do for you include:
  • Adjusting the position of your computer keyboard to promote neutral positioning of the wrists to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Adjusting the height of your desk chair to allow your feet to rest flat on the floor and take pressure off your back
  • Learning the correct way to lift heavy objects to prevent back injuries
  • Using handle coatings or special gloves to suppress vibrations from power tools
  • Changing the order of the daily tasks performed to prevent fatigue and overuse of the same muscles

No matter what the job is, the goal of ergonomics is to make sure that you are safe, comfortable, more productive and less prone to work-related injuries. At Baton Rouge General, a certified ergonomist can visit your place of employment and perform an ergonomic assessment of you and your work space. You will be educated on proper posture and body mechanics, learn how to set up your workstation to be ergonomically correct and receive recommendations for equipment you may need for injury prevention.

Ergonomic assessments can be performed in both office and industrial settings. As a patient in physical or occupational therapy at Baton Rouge General's outpatient clinic, your therapist can also incorporate ergonomic training into your therapy treatments.

To setup an onsite visit, please call (225) 763-4050 or email