Research Papers

Office Space Ergonomics Research Paper

Executive Summary

This report provides the results and analysis of ergonomics of an office space worker sitting for 8 hours per day working on a computer. An employee at the office is faced with an extended sitting posture while working with computers positioned at different angles while typing and reading information. From the tasks performed by a worker at the office, Utah low back Compressive Force and Shoulder moment analysis were used to arrive at the ergonomic risk the employee is exposed to while performing various office activities.

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An office worker sitting on a chair for an extended period is prone to develop physical injuries as a result of an awkward sitting position. This is as a result of the compressive force being applied on the lower back during working. Among the various activities involved in the line of duty of an office worker are typing, prolonged sitting, looking at the computer screens for an extended period and stiff next positions. High-risk factors that may fuel the worker to suffer from discomfort can originate from unsuitable designs of jobs that call for the employee to sit in a fixed position uninterrupted for longer periods with very little or no movement from their original position. The sitting postures and tasks done by the workers for 8 hours were analyzed from an ergonomic point of view. This was done by using Utah low back Compressive Force and Shoulder Moment


Different tools were used to analyze the risk of ergonomics exposed on an employee performing tasks that exerted a force on their bodies. For instance, to perform typing tasks shoulder moment worksheet and compressive force worksheet during analysis of the workers sitting position were used to arrive at ergonomics being quantified. Calculations on shoulder moment were carried out by considering the distance between the keyboard and the hands when typing. Laptop keyboards are considered to be desired less ergonomically compared to a full-sized keyboard. Slumping of the shoulders during working seems more comfortable, but by use of shoulder moment, it quantifies that it is less ergonomically.

Back Compressive Force is estimated by the sitting posture of the worker and the positioning of the desktops. To quantify this ergonomic, Utah low back compressive force was used in this practice. The analysis was then compared with accepted limits set by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) that points that compressive force exceeding 770 lbs will put into risk a section of the workforce while compressive forces exceeding 1430 lbs possess a higher risk to most workforce exposed to it.

When determining visual tasks exerts tension on the neck region, trunk, and pelvis in that the body has to maintain the correct vision that is required during the duration of time that the task is being performed (Anshel, J. R. 2007).

Results and Discussion

The values for Shoulder Moment Calculation and Back Compressive Force were recorded in the spreadsheet which was used for performing the actual calculations required. It is evident after a long period of sitting down the worker suffered cramping in the muscles and pain on the neck region as a result of focusing on the keyboard while typing. Slumping of the shoulders for a prolonged period caused fatigue and straining of the eyes while working on the computer caused blurred vision and headache. The results obtained did not exceed the limit 770 lbs although it can be considered that the frequency of the task performed by the employee possess a risk of ergonomics since it’s a daily activity.


In conclusion, it can be observed that from the analysis of ergonomics that factors that are highly associated with musculoskeletal injury mainly relates to the duration in which an individual performs an activity. The posture assumed is also a factor considered during object handling. Other postures cause biochemical stress raising the risk. The frequency of the compressive force and torso angle rotation is among the physiological stress and was relevant in the practice carried out for evaluation of the risk trauma. The compressive force can be minimized by reducing the distance between the body and the object. Decreasing the gap between the torso and the arm as well as keeping it upright as possible.


After completion of the ergonomics analysis, I recommend that to avoid injuries caused as a result of prolonged sitting, a job design is required in that the amount of time the worker has to sit down is reduced as only frequent change in sitting posture cannot be adequate. Another solution to job design is acquiring feedback from the worker so that the workspace can be tailored to their comfort. Providing training programs to the worker on good sitting habits and emphasizing the health risk of prolonged sitting by giving recommendations on how the worker can adjust the workstation to suit their needs.
Selecting a proper chair for the worker is necessary, adjustable chairs are recommended since they have controls from the sitting position and the worker can adjust the height of the seat, the angle of tilt and backrest ( Bukowski, T. 2014). Designing of a task is also necessary for meeting the office ergonomic analysis by taking into account the work requirement. For visual tasks, it’s important to have a workstation that eliminates strain on the neck. Adjusting the heights of the desktops accordingly to the worker’s preference is essential.

During typing, it is necessary that the worker keeps the wrists straight since bending of the wrists while performing typing operations leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. The the keyboard should therefore be kept at a distance that is within reach.

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Anshel, J. R. (2007). Visual ergonomics in the workplace. Aaohn Journal, 55(10), 414-420. (2012). Office ergonomics: workstation comfort and safety – [online] Available at:
Bukowski, T. (2014). Office worker ergonomics. [online] Available at:
ScienceDirect (Online service). (2004). Ergonomics and the management of musculoskeletal disorders (pp. 448-69). M. J. Sanders (Ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann.