Ergonomics done right.®
October 17th, 2014

Ergonomics: It’s What’s for Dinner

by Matt Gilliam, AEP

As all ergonomists can attest to, it can be very difficult to turn off your “ergo eyes”. We are constantly looking at everyday tasks and trying to improve the way they are done. At the airport, in the car, and even in the kitchen, there are always opportunities to make one’s life easier.

I found such an opportunity in my own kitchen recently. The most frequently used and heaviest dinner plates were stored on the top shelf of spoonmy kitchen cabinet. Why? It’s an answer we hear all the time—‘cuz. That’s just where we put them when we moved in and never thought about it again. Not until I observed my wife reach all the way up to the top shelf to retrieve a plate did I realize that she was experiencing several Ergonomics Hit List® items (shoulders too high/too low, hungry head, elbows out). Until then, I did not think to relocate these items to the lowest shelf thereby reducing the reach distances and the associated ergonomic risks. After relocating the plates in the cabinet, I noticed there were other opportunities in the kitchen for improvements.

Also, if you look around the kitchen there are some things that were designed for you. Where are your microwave, stove and refrigerator located? The microwave is probably on the counter or right above the stove within arm’s reach. The stove and refrigerator are located in the center of the kitchen where you can access them within a few steps.

There are always opportunities for ergonomic improvements. Is there anything in your daily routine that can be improved?