[Histonet] Histology bench ergonomics

Lee & Peggy Wenk lpwenk <@t> covad.net
Mon May 17 20:46:16 CDT 2004

An ergonomics seminar I went to said the workstation should be at elbow
height. (See #2 below for caveat.)

If you are going to be standing, then that is in the range of 33-45 inches

If you are going to be sitting, then the height should be in the range of
26-34 inches.

Why the range?
1. Line up a room of people, and have them stand with their upper arms
hanging down at their sides, and the lower arms making an "L" in front of
them, palms up. The elbow is at a 90 degree angle, and the forearms are
parallel to the floor. Look at the height from the floor of everyone's
arms.Wide range of distance from the floor.  The same would apply to someone
sitting down.
2. The "workstation" is not just the top of the counter. The height of the
"thing" you are working on also has to be included in the height of the
workstation. In other words, right now, I'm typing on a key board, and the
extra 1 inch depth of the keyboard has to be added onto the height of the
countertop. The height that people grab the coplin jar must be included in
the overall height of the staining counter. The height that the microtome
wheel handle is grabbed must be included in the overall height of the
microtomy table. If these additional heights are not included, then if a 30
inch workbench is "perfect" for someone to sit and have their arms rest on
the top of the counter at the 90 degree/parallel to the floor position, then
when the microtome handle is added, the person has to "reach up", thereby
being forced to raise their shoulders. This is not good ergonomically.

So, how does a lab construct a working laboratory with people ranging in
height from 4'10" to 6'2"? Well, either construct for 95% of the people (get
a happy median), or buy the counters that can be adjusted up and down in
height. We have those for our grossing stations, because different residents
and pathologists are using the same stations, and we needed that ability to
adjust the heights. And the PA's, who are there 8 hours a day, and adjust
their grossing stations just for themselves, and can alter it when they
decide to sit instead of stand.

Hope this helps.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

----- Original Message -----
From: <Jackie.O'Connor <@t> abbott.com>
To: <histonet <@t> pathology.swmed.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2004 11:11 AM
Subject: [Histonet] Histology bench ergonomics

> Does anyone have any data or information on bench height for microtomy?  I
> know a lot of people cut at routine lab bench height (36" I think) with no
> trouble, and some cut at desk high benches (30").  Is there any
> safety/ergonomic guidelines or opinions as to which is better for
> microtomy?  I actually prefer desk height, so I can keep my feet on the
> floor - I'm just wondering if there is anything official out there - I've
> looked at a couple of sites, but can't find a lot to support my idea that
> desk height is better.
> Thanks -
> Jackie O'
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> Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
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