Seeing the world with “ergo eyes”
Having been involved with the University of Michigan Table Tennis club, I recently noticed this issue while we were setting up tables for practice. It is a great example of bad equipment design – the user has to simultaneously press levers on both sides while supporting and flipping the top. Given the design of the table, there is no other way the user is able to perform this activity, but to assume awkward postures and exert high force.
Being an Ergonomist with what we like to call “ergo eyes”, I notice similar examples all the time at workplaces that I visit. A common response that I hear in these situations is that the user or employee just needs to be coached in using proper body mechanics, which has no merit. The root cause in this example, as well as similar issues at work, lies in the design of the equipment. My job is to engineer out the risk by modifying the equipment or workstation setup.
I don’t suppose any of you have similar examples or stories to share?