Apart from the risk of working daily with hazardous substances, laboratory personnel are also exposed to many ergonomic factors due to the nature of their work. The goal of this section is to provide laboratory workers with information that will allow them to make changes that will reduce the risk of injury and consider ergonomics when purchasing new laboratory equipment.


Pipetting: [Click here for image]

  • Use an electronic operated or a latch-mode pipetter to replace manual plunger-operated pipettes, Both of these units reduce the need for excessive thumb force and repetition,
  • Use shorter pipettes and shorter waste receptacles for the used tips to reduce reaching,
  • Work at appropriate heights to minimize twisting of the neck and torso,
  • Avoid elevating arms and elbows above the shoulder for lengthy periods to prevent static arm, and shoulder strain,
  • Work with arms close to the body to reduce strain on shoulders,
  • Avoid standing for long periods, If standing is unavoidable considering using Anti-Fatigue Mats,
  • Limit periods of continuous pipetting, Vary activities, or take frequent short breaks.

Microscopy: [Click here for image]

  • Use a fully adjustable ergo-task chair or stool with built-in solid foot rest,
  • Adjust the eye pieces and angle of observation to prevent neck strain,
  • Do not work with elbows winged, Keep elbows close to sides, below 45-degree angle,
  • Make sure to work with wrists in neutral (straight) position, Pad sharp edges with foam, or pad wrists and forearms to reduce pressure,
  • Avoid raising shoulders and bending neck while looking through microscope’s eyepiece,
  • Ensure that sufficient knee and leg space is available,
  • Position microscope as close as possible towards you to ensure upright head position,
  • Prevent repetition, and alter prolonged awkward posture, Take adequate small breaks and perform other job tasks that require less repetition, rest your eyes, neck, and shoulders.

Biosafety Cabinets (BSC) and Lab Hoods: [Click here for image]

  • Position materials in laboratory hoods/BSC’s as close as possible to avoid extended reaching, Perform work at least 6” back into the laboratory hood for safety reasons,
  • Use a fully adjustable ergo-task chair or stool with built-in solid foot rest,
  • Use an anti-fatigue mat if you will be standing for long periods of time while working in hoods/BSC’s,
  • Make sure that lights in hoods/BSC’s are working properly,
  • Use proper sitting posture and positioning,
  • Take short breaks to relieve forearm and wrist pressure caused by leaning on front edge of hoods/BSC’s.

Laboratory Workbenches: [Click here for image]

  • Use a fully adjustable ergo-task chair or stool with built-in solid footrest,
  • Use anti-fatigue mats if you will be standing for long periods of time while working at the laboratory workbench,
  • Remove drawers, supplies and other materials underneath workbenches to provide leg room,
  • Use a footrest if your feet do not rest comfortably on the floor.

Micro-Manipulation & Fine Motor Skills: [Click here for image]

  • Use plastic vials with fewer threads to reduce twisting motions during capping and uncapping lids,
  • Use small pieces of foam, similar to the type used on pencils and pens to prevent soreness on the fingertips, where fingers and forceps articulate, This will distribute the force out over a greater surface area, thus reducing the compressive forces on the soft tissue,
  • Practice using forceps between the thumb and middle fingers, Then try alternating between the two positions to reduce the use of the thumb extensors and flexors,
  • Tilt storage bins toward the worker to reduce wrist flexion while reaching for supplies,
  • Take short breaks and do hand, wrist and forearm exercises.

Centrifuge Rotors: [Click here for image]

  • Use a team approach for lifting heavy centrifuge rotors,
  • Use a cart to transport the rotors.