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Workers' and Buyers' Perspective on Sit-Stand Workstations

office_ergonomics Dec 17, 2021

When asking furniture buyers about who has access to sit-stand workstations, only 12% of respondents said that everyone has access to one, while over half of respondents said those who request or need one for medical reasons have access (Zerguine et al. 2022).


Why might only 12% of organizations give everyone access to a sit-stand workstation?


Many respondents said that a reason for not investing in sit-stand workstations was the financial implications it would impose. Another reason for not investing was that it was not a priority for the organization (Zerguine et al. 2022). 


In another study conducted by Zerguine et al. (2021), the barriers and benefits of sit-stand workstations from the perspective of furniture buyers was examined. Some potential barriers found were:  

  • Design: Desks would have to be adjusted to the height of the user
  • Research: The lack of firm regulations and guidelines
  • User motivation: The sit-stand workstation will be used at...
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What really causes neck pain in the office?



The neck is one of the most commonly targeted areas for office ergonomic interventions across the globe as it is susceptible to pain and soreness from a variety of sources.  In a study of over 600 European office workers, it was found that 56.1% of all the participants had some level of neck pain.1

     However, not all of the factors related to the neck actually lead to neck pain!  According to a research study lead by Venerina Johnson, a premier researcher at Queensland University in Australia, there are specific key causes of most neck pain, and many of these causes only lead to significant pain in combination with other factors.2  

Individual Risk Factors

     First, a variety of factors associated with the individual can lead to neck pain.  Individual factors are characteristics of a specific person which might impact neck pain in either a positive or negative way.  These factors are extremely...

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Proper Postures Prevent Knee Injury

ergonomics msdprevention Nov 18, 2021


  The knee is an extremely unique and versatile joint in the body.  Because of this, there are many potential injuries that can arise throughout a range of different postures.  For example, excessive kneeling can lead to bursitis, an inflammation of the tissue that lubricates the knee1.  Ligament sprains and muscle strains can occur with excessive twisting or poor posture in movements with high forces2.  Chronic malalignment of the knee can also lead to patellofemoral pain, tendinitis, and osteoarthritis, which cause pain with knee movements3.  Sudden impacts on the knee can lead to fractures or dislocations depending on the direction of the impact1.  These are only a few of the common injuries that can impact the knee and its surrounding tissues. 


  These knee injuries commonly occur in the workplace, when demands are placed on workers that predispose them to injury.  According to the workplace safety...

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Shoulder Posture and Injury Prevention in the Workplace

ergonomics msdprevention Nov 15, 2021

CRE-MSD (2020) has noted that shoulder injuries have the longest recovery time compared to other body parts.

To prevent injuries of the shoulder it is important to know the correct and incorrect postures of the shoulders. Correct posture of the shoulders is the shoulders square and level, and they are relaxed and pulled back. We also want to know the incorrect postures of the shoulder so that we can avoid these postures, which are the shoulders rounded with the palms of the hands facing forward.

Some ways to minimize the risk of shoulder injuries when working include: 

  • Decrease repetition 
  • Limit overhead reaching  
  • Keep the load close to the body
  • Use both arms to distribute the load evenly 
  • Limit shrugging and rounding of the shoulders 

When reaching for objects we want to avoid horizontal reaches away from the body as much as possible, as this can cause excess strain on the shoulders and lead to injuries. However, if we do need to engage in this...

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Good Back Posture in the Workplace

Uncategorized Nov 11, 2021

According to WSIB, for nine years, up to and including 2019, the leading part of the body injured due to work was the lower back. Awkward posture has consistently been found with ergonomic analysis tools (and common sense) as a risk factor of low back pain.


Practice Good Posture 

Some ways to decrease the risk of back injuries are to practice good posture!

  • Breath well and pay attention to your body
  • Ensure that your spine is straight when standing and sitting. 
  • When bending down to grab an object, ensure that the back is straight and not arched or rounded. 
  • Make sure the shoulders are in line with each other when grabbing an object to minimize twisting of the spine. 
  • When lifting an object, try to get close to the object and keep it directly in front of you to minimize rounding, bending, and twisting of the back. 


Awkward Posture 

Some approaches to decrease awkward posture, according to CRE-MSD (2018), are: 

  • Provide...
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Lower Back Pain in the Workplace

ergonomics msdprevention Nov 11, 2021

Lower back Injury

     Injuries of the lower back can be extremely debilitating and are common in many different workplaces.  Although the symptoms of lower back pain across many scenarios may be similar, the causes of low back pain are hard to identify and can be extremely varied.  This is because there are many anatomical structures at risk in the lower back, including nerve roots, muscles, bones, and vertebral discs.1  These structures can be injured through a variety of movements, including heavy lifting, sudden impacts, repetitive bending or twisting, or poor posture in a seated or standing position.1

Lower Back Injury Rates

     Because of the many potential mechanisms of injury, lower back pain is one of the most prevalent workplace injuries.2  According to the Ontario Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), in 2019, the lower back was the most common site of injury in valid insurance claims, contributing to a...

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Musculoskeletal Disorders and Prevention

ergonomics msdprevention Sep 20, 2021

What are musculoskeletal disorders? 

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries/disorders of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and even nerves. Some well-known MSD are carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, tennis elbow, and trigger finger, although there are many more in addition to these.   

The symptoms of MSD are dependent on the type and location of the injury. However, some common symptoms are pain in movement, swelling, reduced range of motion, stiffness, etc.

Some common hazards in the workplace that may cause a worker to develop MSD are,

  • High exertion of force
  • Posture
  • Repetition
  • Vibration
  • Local contact stress
  • Cold temperatures

Over time, these hazards may take a toll on the body and cause injury.


Quick fact: The most affected area regarding MSD is the low back. Some work-related factors that can cause this MSD are lifting with the spine flexed or twisted, repetitive lifting, and sitting or standing on vibrating platforms.


MSD Prevention


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What is an MSD Prevention Program and Why Should You Invest in One?

Uncategorized Sep 20, 2021

MSD Prevention Plans

     A musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention program is a key component to any successful and healthy workplace setting.  But what actually is an MSD prevention program?  According to the Ontario Ministry of labour, an MSD can be defined as an injury of the musculoskeletal system typically involving high forces, poor postures, and repetition in tasks.1  To combat these injuries, most organizational MSD prevention programs consist of guidelines and principles designed to reduce certain workplace injury risks and prevent various common workplace injuries such as strains or sprains.  These general principles typically target dangerous movements and can be applied uniquely and specifically to individual workplaces and even to individual workstations to ensure that every employee can work safely and with as little risk as possible.  The transferability of these interventions is often their main strength, as programs...

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Creating Rituals for work & life balance

office_ergonomics Mar 04, 2021

Maintaining a work : life balance.   

Managing work, time & task requirements for productivity is necessary to get your work finished.  It's also important to  separate your work from your non-work life. A few simple strategies can help you to stay focused and avoid distractions.  


Creating 'rituals' is the best way to create new habits. 

Humans are creates of habit, and our habits are triggered by a complex web of our thoughts and environment.  Habits are behaviours or thoughts that are repeated until they become automatic for us. The act of logging out of your computer, saying goodbye to co-workers at the end of the workday, walking out the door or getting into your vehicle, taking the commute home (and what you do on that commute) are all routines and there may be triggers that allow us to begin this transition.  Creating a ritual for yourself can help you shift between work and home-life. The...

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Productivity at home - focus for 25 minutes at a time

I was really excited to learn the science of how our brains are wired; it fits perfectly to the ergonomic research we know; to avoid sitting for periods of longer than 25-30 minutes at a time for the health of our back, bodies and metabolism!  The POMODORO technique for focus and avoiding procrastination recommends that our focused effort is really only good for 25 minutes, then we should take a break for 5 minutes to let our brains switch to a 'diffuse mode' of learning and problem solving.  Moving the body during this 5 minute break will improve our posture, metabolism and neural pathways!

I found some fabulous free programs on Coursera ( . With my 15 year old daughter also home now and adapting to a new way of learning, I thought we would both find some useful strategies in the "learning how we learn" course.  

The POMODORO technique made a lot of sense for both of us.  Dr. Barbara Oakley explains in her video ...

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