Take the Pain Out: Smart Design to Create Ergonomic Labs

Monday, April 23, 3:20 - 4:10 PM

The world is evolving quickly, and scientific research developments are keeping pace. However, the laboratories these scientists are working in sometimes look like relics of the past. Today’s laboratory technology and research requires intense hand-eye coordination, precise arm movements, manual materials handling, acute visual concentration and, above all, repetition. The scientists working in these high-tech labs are exposed to a multitude of ergonomic risks due to the nature of their work and research. This session explores the process of rethinking traditional lab environments—sometimes assumed to be systematic and repetitive—to integrate end users’ ergonomics needs.

What are ergonomic considerations beyond the furniture requirements? Why are these considerations critical in laboratory design? What are strategies to integrate ergonomics into the design? What are the life cycle cost considerations? When is the best time to implement the human factor in the design process? As office spaces continue to progress into modern environments, labs can take some cues and integrate similar design considerations into their spaces as well.

Laboratories are infrastructure-rich environments in which people spend many hours doing repetitive and exacting tasks. These environments place high demands on the individual for visual acuity and manual dexterity. Most labs have a flexible design to accommodate multiple configurations and utility delivery and to accommodate many different types of work. The flexibility inherent in modern laboratory systems focusses on science, but the humans engaged in the work are often forgotten. This presentation explores the importance of considering ergonomics in laboratory design, and how designers can improve the ergonomics for lab users including: • Workstations designed to accommodate individual needs • Lab environment and methodologies • Acoustical issues • Barriers to productivity.

Attendees will:

• Understand consequences associated with poor ergonomic design.

• Explore the factors that influence ergonomics.

• Learn lab design approaches to accommodate positive ergonomic environments.

• Learn about products and systems that facilitate human comfort.