Ergonomics is the science of fitting the workstation and tools to fit the user in order to reduce musculoskeletal stresses leading to injury and illness. Whether you will be working in a research lab for one semester or throughout your career, there are ways to protect yourself from ergonomic hazards common in laboratory settings.
Laboratory researchers are at risk for developing cumulative trauma injuries because of the repetitive nature of pipetting, use of small hand held tools, opening and closing vial caps, prolonged awkward postures at a microscope, and a variety of other laboratory tasks.
Repetitive motion injuries develop over time and occur when muscles and joints are stressed, tendons are inflamed, nerves are pinched and the flow of blood is restricted. Standing and working in awkward positions in laboratory hoods/biological safety cabinets can also present ergonomic problems. By becoming familiar with how to control laboratory ergonomic risk factors, you can improve employee comfort, productivity, and job satisfaction while lowering chances for occupational injuries.