back Ergonomics
  • Manual handling
  • Lab work
  • Caffè
  • Design and set up your space

Recommended working postures and material handling techniques

Perform the lift in your ‘power zone’, between the knees and chest. 

Preferred work zone:

  • As far forward as the wrist when the elbow angle is 90 degrees
  • As wide as the shoulders
  • Upper work level chest high
  • Lower work level about waist height

Safe lifting

Most of us lift heavy items and think nothing of it. Whether a particular lift will require assistance depends on several factors, including the weight of the object, how frequently the object is lifted, how close the object is to the ground, how high it must be lifted, and how far it must be carried. 

When lifting items, regardless of the weight, it is important to use good lifting technique. The first rule of thumb when reviewing proper lifting techniques is – Don’t Lift! Try to use a hand truck, cart or other aid to lift or transport material. 

On the other hand, during your daily activities there will be circumstances when you may have to lift. With this in mind, it is important to review the proper body mechanics for safe lifting.

Guidelines for proper lifting

  1. Think before you lift. Size up the object, if it is too bulky or heavy get help.
  2. Plan the lift. Know where you are going and make sure you have a clear path.
  3. Get close to the load and make sure there is enough space to complete the lift.
  4. Try to perform the lift between knee and waist height.
  5. If you must reach above shoulder level, use a sturdy step stool, not a table or chair.
  6. Use a wide base of support and stagger your feet at least 8-12 inches apart.
  7. Bend with your knees and hips, and keep your head and back upright.
  8. Turn with your feet not your torso.
  9. Stay in control.
  10. Take your time!

Things to avoid when lifting

  1. Do not hesitate to get help, either from another person or a mechanical aid.
  2. Do not lift without a plan.
  3. Do not lift or lower when in awkward positions (for example on one foot).
  4. Do not twist the back or bend sideways.
  5. Do not lift with the arms extended.
  6. Do not “jerk” or attempt to move heavy loads quickly.

Lab work

Work bench and equipment location 

  • Work should be positioned close to elbow height (36” - 40”)
  • Primary tools and supplies located within arms reach (4” - 16”)
  • Clearance for knees when sitting minimum 15”, and 4” clearance for feet/toes when standing
  • Floor mats in areas where prolonged standing
  • Option to sit for tasks requiring precision and close inspection
Reduce risk of injury through design.

Setting up a new lab, or designing a task. Review design guidelines for working heights, reach distances, forces, and clearances. Contact ergonomics@apple.com for assistance.

Lab stool                 

  • Adjust the stool seat height to match your task
  • Feet supported firmly on the floor or footrest
  • Armrests, if available, should not interfere with the work

Microscopes

Guidelines for achieving and maintaining neutral body posture while using a microscope:

  • Eyepieces should rest just below the eyes with the eyes looking downward at an angle 30 to 45 degrees below the horizontal
  • Interocular distance of binocular eyepieces should be adjusted to ensure that both eyes are focusing comfortably.
  • The head and neck should bend as little as possible, < 10-15 degrees below the horizontal.
  • Sit upright, with the lower back supported by the chair.
  • Shoulders relaxes, elbows close to the body, and wrists straight
  • Support the arms on the work surface or chair armrests for prolonged work
  • Feet firmly on the floor or a footrest
  • Positioned equipment within easy reach
  • Take breaks or vary tasks hourly.

Work bench and equipment location              

  • Work should be positioned close to elbow height (36” - 40”)
  • Primary tools and supplies located within arms reach (4” - 16”)
  • Clearance for knees when sitting (minimum 15”), and feet when standing (minimum 4”)
  • Floor mats in areas where prolonged standing
  • Option to sit for tasks requiring precision and close inspection

Pipettes and Fume hoods                               

  • Is manual pipette use limited to less than 4 hours per day?
  • Use vials, tubes, and receptacles as low profile as possible
  • Place racks, trays, and supplies within easy reach 
  • Working posture: Shoulders relaxed, arms in by your side, and back supported

Fume hoods 

  • Limit manual pipette use to less than 4 hours per day when possible
  • Use vials, tubes, and receptacles as low profile as possible
  • Place racks, trays, and supplies within easy reach (~12” or 30cm)
  • Work with shoulders relaxed, arms in by your side, and back supported
  • Ensure adequate knee and/or foot clearance
  • Use padding on edges to reduce soft tissue compression
  • Consider anti-fatigue mats if prolonged standing

Lifting, carrying & moving products

Avoid injury. Few things to keep in mind when lifting and carrying:

  • Plan before you lift
  • Get help if needed
  • Get close to the load before you lift
  • Keep it close when you carry it

Caffè

Ergonomic Challenges

Work activities in the Caffès present unique stressors including: 

  • Repetitive movements (e.g. cutting)
  • Forceful movements (e.g. manual material handling, using equipment)
  • Awkward postures 
  • Work around warm/hot equipment
  • Higher work pace

Below are ergonomic tips, techniques, and resources for the Caffès. See EHS SCV Kitchen Safety for safe working and Caffe Macs Training tips 

Proper Lifting and Handling Techniques

Lifting Mechanics
  1. Think before you lift
    • Size up the object - if it is too bulky or heavy, get help
    • Plan the lift - know where you are going and make sure you have a clear path.
  2. Get close to the load and make sure there is enough space to complete the lift
  3. Use a wide base of support (feet at least shoulder-width apart). Stagger your feet at least 8 in apart
  4. Bend with your knees and hips, and keep your head and back upright.
  5. Lift with the powerful mover muscles of your lower body in a smooth, controlled, coordinated manner
  6. Keep it close

Think before you lift

Make loads lighter to make lifting and carrying easier

  • Use pushing and pulling to bring items close to you for a safer lift.
  • Seek assistance when moving heavy or cumbersome items
  • Use mechanical assists (e.g. carts, hand trucks, lifts) whenever possible
  • Lift smaller amounts (e.g., fewer trays)
  • Store food in smaller containers
  • Disassemble items to make loads more manageable
  • Carry items with two hands to avoid overloading and improved control

Item Storage

Organize items to prevent risky lifting

  • Store heavier or frequently used items in the "strike zone," an anatomical zone between chest and mid-thigh level
  • Use step stools to access lighter items on taller shelves
  • If possible, break loads down into smaller sizes to allow more flexible organization and lighter lifts
  • Seek assistance with heavier items

General Caffè Ergonomics Tips

Take the time to set up your work area to prevent prolonged forward bending or reaching over the shoulders

  • For rinsing items in deep sinks, use a wire mesh sink insert or similar device to reduce awkward bending and time needed to perform activities.
  • To reduce forces required for movement, all cart and shelving wheels or slides should be cleaned and lubricated at least once per year.
  • Equipment use and cleaning training should involve methods to reduce awkward postures and excessive repetition.
  • Regular micro-breaks (1 minute recovery stretches) should be performed approximately every hour (e.g. when washing hands)
  • Placing lighter frequently used items on the middle shelves and heavy items on the lower shelves, forces high risk lifting in awkward postures.
  • Use tools to make your job easier. Use the right tool for the job (e.g., carts, hand trucks, and automated tools to reduce repetitive movements)

Design and set up your space

Reduce risk of injury through design.

Task and workstation design guidelines

Equipment / Machinery

Ergonomics and Human Factors

New equipment and machinery information (with associated procedure for use) should be sent to Apple EHS, Ergonomics for review during design phase. Ergonomics will assess for accessibility of the greatest percentile of employees to operate with regards for posture, reach, employee population strength capability, hand clearance, visibility, and feasibility. 

Equipment that includes difficult maintenance accessibility or heavy components/subsystems (> 25 pounds) requiring maintenance will require an ergonomics risk assessment. 

Equipment that requires the movement of any load >20 lb requires review from an Apple Ergonomist. 

Reach below 22” or above 48”, or reach further than 14” requires a review from EHS, Ergonomics.

Request an ergonomics risk assessment, ergonomics@apple.com

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