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Embryologists in the BWH Obstetrics and Gynecology Department’s Embryology Lab complete precise and sensitive microscope tasks on a daily basis. Until recently, one problem in particular made these efforts physically challenging for some lab staff: all employees, whether they are five feet tall or six feet tall, were using the same microscope set at the same height.
The leaders of the Embryology Lab—which performs an array of assisted reproductive technologies—decided it was time to fix this problem and arranged for an ergonomics evaluation to be conducted by BWH Occupational Health ergonomists. They concluded that the fixed height of the microscopes was likely causing physical stress to some embryologists as they stood to work in awkward postures. Taller workers needed to bend their backs, knees and necks to use the microscopes, while shorter workers stood on their toes. The determined solution was to make microscopes adjustable to improve the comfort of all staff.
The lab replaced existing fixed-height tables that supported microscopes with motorized height-adjustable tables, a win-win situation for everyone. Real Estate and Facilities staff provided their expertise, managing installation of the height-adjustable tables, which was finalized by the end of last year. Now, with the touch of a button, embryologists are able to adjust the microscope height to a position that fits them comfortably.
“By addressing the ergonomic needs of our embryologists, we were able to improve our staff’s comfort, health and productivity,” said Sharon Vitti, vice president of Clinical Services, who supported the project.
Added senior embryologist Kerry Kelleher: “I love that they are height-adjustable, as lab staff heights vary to the extreme. I’m now able to stand comfortably while working, which helps with back and neck stress.”
In addition to the tables, adjustable-height embryology workstations have also been installed. The lab’s director, Catherine Racowsky, PhD, and her staff members had identified the need for frequently accessed incubators to be placed at different heights, further improving the working postures for lab staff.
The Embryology Lab’s successful ergonomic intervention continues to promote the comfort, health and productivity of the lab staff. To learn more about ergonomic services at BWH, email Aaron Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office Ergonomics Training Session
If you have an interest in learning about office ergonomics and being able to assist your colleagues as well, join Partners Occupational Health Service Ergonomics for its next training session on April 30, 9 a.m.-noon, at One Brigham Circle, Ledge Room 4-002B. This training is ideal for individuals with an interest in becoming their department’s expert in office ergonomics or anyone interested in healthy computing. Be sure to sign up soon as space is limited. To register or learn more, visit the PartnersPulse Ergonomics website.