AUGUST 2014 ;e Costco Connection 37
By Bara Vaida
EVERY WEEK, COSTCO member and ergonomics expert Julie Landis walks into offices and
observes workers slouching in their chairs and leaning over keyboards with hunched shoulders. Some
are straining their necks to view too-high computer
monitors and others are awkwardly twisting their
bodies to grab their phone or read documents.
She sees recipes for pain.
“There are all kinds of ways that people, without
realizing it, are doing things to injure themselves at
work,” says Landis, president and CEO of Ergo
Concepts ( www.ergoconceptsllc.com), a suburban
Germantown, Maryland, ergonomics consulting
firm hired by large and small companies to create
pain-free office environments.
Every year, about 1 million people strain their
necks, hurt their backs or sprain their wrists so
badly that they need serious medical attention and
can’t return to work for days, according to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. That lost work time and
the medical costs related to treating disabling workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $20
billion in 2011, according to a 2013 report by Liberty
Mutual Insurance, a Boston-based company that
analyzes federal ergonomics data to create its
national Workplace Safety Index.
Further, new research shows that the amount of
time people spend sitting is causing injury to their
health. Adults who sit for more than four hours a
day, compared with those who sit for just two hours,
have a 50 percent increased risk of death from any
cause and a 125 percent increased risk of a health
problem related to cardiovascular disease, says James
Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.
“Sitting is the new smoking,” says Landis.
GET A CHAIR and desk for
your body type. While sitting,
your back should be supported by the chair and feet
flat on the floor. There should
be room on the desk for a
keyboard and mouse. When
typing, shoulders should be
relaxed and elbows close to
the body and supported.
Wrists and hands should be
in line with forearms. Set the
computer screen on the desk
so the top of the monitor is
just below eye level.
• Don’t sit on the edge of a
chair. Don’t lean forward to
type or see your computer
screen. Don’t hunch your
shoulders. Don’t let your
• Consider a sit-stand desk,
to encourage movement.
• Get up every half hour to
move and stretch. To help
with reminders, download
a software program like
WorkSafe Sam (see www2.
worksafebc.com and search
• Move your printer to
another room so you have
to get up.
For help with equipment
and finding a local ergonomic
• OSHA Ergonomics e Tool:
Helps you find the best
furniture for your body;
• Move Forward: An
Therapy Association website that helps people create healthy workplaces;
• Ergo Concepts Tool Box: A
telephone and virtual evaluation from Landis’ company; www.ergoconcepts
Incorrect office ergonomics can
position your business for a loss
ergo I stand
for your health
In our digital editions
Watch a video that demonstrates proper ergonomics. (See page 12
for more details.)
CONTINUED ON PAGE 39
The Costco Connection
Costco and Costco.com offer a variety of ergonomic items, including standing mats, keyboards,
desk chairs and more.