From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Best of The Ergonomics Report 2011

Ergoweb® and The Ergonomics Report™ draw a wide variety of readers and participants that, true to the nature of the field of ergonomics, bring an even wider variety of professional backgrounds, experiences, skill levels and expectations, so we're always wondering what topics are of the greatest interest to our subscribers. You, as a subscriber to The Ergonomics Report, represent a select few when compared to our 280,000 web site visitors for 2011. All told, readers accessed more than 420,000 pages throughout the site, but most of those readers do not have access to this private, subscriber-only area.

So, what did you, our most loyal readers (thank you!) access the most in the private The Ergonomics Report section of Here are the top 5 articles for 2011. The list is likely skewed, because some articles have been published for a much longer time than others, but as of December 31, 2011, here are the results:

  1. Eye Strain, Neck Pain and Monitor Placement (Conventional Wisdom vs Ergonomics Evidence)

This article presents an intriguing challenge to what has become 'conventional wisdom' with regard to monitor placement. Contributor Gene Kay suggests that the commonly recommended placement of the monitor up near eye-height may actually contribute to eye strain, dry eyes, and neck extension.  He suggests the solution is to optimize the monitor position for the visual system, which means placing the monitor lower, positioning it closer to the "normal reading position" that has worked well for thousands of years.

  1. Slips, Trips, Falls: An Untapped ROI Opportunity for Ergonomists

The prevention of slips, trips and falls are a nearly forgotten part of an ergonomists improvement opportunities. In this article, Peter Budnick summarizes a recent study of slips/trips/falls in an aircraft manufacturing facility, using it to demonstrates and promote the critical safety and cost improvement role ergonomics can and should play in reducing or eliminating their occurrence.

  1. Evidence: Investing in Adjustable Workstations Produces Healthy ROI

An internal corporate study of 6200 financial services call center staff found that over a three-year period employees in non-adjustable workstations had 5-times more injuries and 20 times more Worker Compensation injury costs, as compared to employees in user-adjustable workstations.  Furthermore, the non-adjustable workstations had higher costs associated with routine moves and making ergonomic adjustments.

  1. 29 inch Desk Height Revisited

We previously published an article titled "Is There An Industry Standard For Desk Height?" in which we questioned the often suggested "industry standard" of 29 inches for office workers, "which ergonomists know can't possibly be right for all people." In this article, Peter Budnick reviews the origin of the 29 inch dimension in greater detail and makes the call for ergonomists to educate, inform and help the office environment move beyond such one-size-fits-all thinking, especially when one size never fits all.

  1. Body Mass Index Related to Musculoskeletal Discomfort and Job Stress

A team of researchers from India performed a study looking at various associations between body mass index BMI, musculoskeletal discomfort, and occupational stress among computer workers. Their results add to the growing understanding that being overweight can have a significant effect on musculoskeletal discomfort and occupational stress measures.


Again, we thank you, our most loyal readers, for your continued support in growing the reach and influence of ergonomics around the world. Please let us know if there are specific issues or topics you'd like us to address in The Ergonomics Report.

All of us at Ergoweb wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous 2012.

This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2012-01-05.