Healthcare providers are dedicated to the health and well-being of others. Sadly, the nature of their work often exposes healthcare employees to diverse hazards, from toxic materials to workplace injuries. 

In navigating these challenges, integrating ergonomic principles enhances workplace safety,  fostering a healthier and more efficient environment for healthcare professionals.

In this article, we will look at how embracing ergonomic principles can significantly enhance workplace safety and contribute to a healthier, more efficient employee environment.

What is Ergonomics in Healthcare?

Ergonomics designs an environment with the user’s well-being in mind to enhance worker efficiency and prevent repetitive injuries. For instance, a chair with proper lower back support that promotes a healthy sitting posture exemplifies good ergonomics.

Conversely, if a phone’s screen is consistently dim, flickers, and is so out of focus that users strain their eyes to discern the image, it exhibits poor ergonomics.

Ergonomics plays a pivotal role in healthcare, benefiting both providers and patients. Given the long and demanding work hours of healthcare providers, maintaining energy levels for patient care is essential. Uncomfortable equipment or injuries resulting from its use can diminish this energy.

In addition, effective ergonomic design facilitates a seamless recovery process for patients who are grappling with injuries or illnesses. Any form of stress or discomfort can impede patients’ recovery, potentially increasing the recurrence of their injury or condition.

Modern trends in ergonomics often focus on comfort and posture while using a computer, given how important they are in offices worldwide. This includes encouraging proper posture, adjustable desks and chairs, and adequate support for the arm and wrist while typing to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. 

In the future, we will likely see more uses of automation and technology. This includes mechanisms for lifting and lowering hospital beds and wearable sensors that can track a provider’s movements and analyze stress points.  

The Importance of Ergonomics in Hospitals & Healthcare Settings

As mentioned previously, healthcare professionals face a wide range of physical and mental challenges during their work. Healthcare groups are responsible for supporting their employees as best they can while finding ways to eliminate or reduce these challenges. 

Physical Strain and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Sadly, hospitals are one of the most hazardous workplaces in the world. In 2019, U.S. hospitals recorded 221,400 work-related injuries or illnesses, with a rate of 5.5 injuries for every 100 full-time employees. That is almost twice the rate for private industry in general. 

Musculoskeletal disorders are a prevalent focus of ergonomics, addressing physical conditions within an individual’s skeleton and muscles often induced by their work environment. These disorders encompass issues like back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sprains and strains are the most common of these injuries, making up more than 50% of all healthcare provider injuries. 

The most common cause of worker injuries is overexertion, such as excessive lifting, bending, or reaching. A frequent scenario is transferring patients from one bed to another without proper support or technique, resulting in healthcare workers overexerting themselves and sustaining injuries.

Other common causes of worker injuries included falls and contact with hazardous objects. 

Mental Well-Being and Job Satisfaction

Another facet of ergonomics that is just as important but often goes undiscussed is its impact on employees’ mental health and happiness. Sadly, this is another area where the healthcare sector needs help. 

In 2022 alone, 46% of health workers reported feeling burnt out or exhausted. Similar negative feelings were reported for parameters like trust in management, workplace productivity, and turnover intention. 

Proper ergonomic procedures can help alleviate these feelings of exhaustion and frustration. The connection between physical and mental health is well-documented. Workers who are physically healthy and protected from workplace accidents are less likely to feel stressed out or overwhelmed. 

By that same notion, an employee who suffers a sprain due to a lack of resources or support from their employer is far more likely to feel like their management doesn’t care about their well-being. 

Beyond major injuries or accidents, ergonomics plays a crucial role in reducing employee stress. Imagine the constant need to bend down or stand on tiptoes to access work supplies. Such repetitive tasks can lead to annoyance over time, especially when coupled with the discomfort of a sore, aching back.

Tips for Designing Ergonomic Healthcare Spaces

Given how varied hospitals and the needs of patients can be, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for healthcare ergonomics. However, there are three significant areas that healthcare groups should focus on if they want to improve: equipment, procedures, and facility layout. 


Better equipment is usually  the first thing people think about when it comes to ergonomics, especially in healthcare. Because healthcare staff frequently spend long shifts on their feet, smaller and lighter equipment can make a massive difference. 

For example, healthcare staff often use mobile workstations on wheels (WOW), with a PC hooked up to a power supply on the cart. This allows them to take a PC to perform tasks such as charting or dispensing medicine. 

However, these power supplies are very heavy, which makes them difficult to push around during a shift. A better solution is a battery-powered PC on a non-powered computer cart, which is lighter and less taxing. 

Additionally, because so much healthcare work involves staring at a monitor for extended periods, a medical-grade computer with an anti-glare filter can prevent eye strain while giving providers a clear view of on-screen information. 

Adjustable equipment is another improvement to embrace. As staff members have different body shapes and heights, they  will find different arrangements comfortable. Computer stands that can be raised or lowered prevent staff members from craning their necks, while adjustable furniture lets patients and staff find a configuration that works for them. 

Adjustable beds are particularly important for patient comfort and recovery, especially if they can be moved without staff. 


Ergonomic procedures focus on protecting staff from dangerous behaviors or overexertion. Since most healthcare injuries occur during physical stress, avoiding mistakes like awkward postures while lifting heavy objects or not maintaining situational awareness is critical. 

Embracing ergonomic procedures means understanding that ergonomics is not just a question of what tools you use but how you use them. 

Properly training staff on high-risk procedures like transferring patients from a bed to a wheelchair or handling dangerous substances can prevent both repetitive stress injuries and sudden accidents. 

Implementing simple practices like lifting with your legs instead of your back and avoiding awkward positions for extended periods can significantly contribute to ensuring employees’ health, safety, and comfort.

Facility Layout

An ergonomic layout focuses on making the healthcare facility itself easy and comfortable to work in. This depends on an open and healthy dialogue between health administration and staff members to determine priorities like equipment storage, workplace arrangement, and more. 

Here are some examples of ergonomic layouts:

  • A good ergonomic layout for a nurses’ station will have all the equipment and consumables that nurses may need within easy reach without constantly kneeling or stretching. 
  • If a cabinet stores supplies, the ergonomic solution is to put the most commonly used items front and center to be the easiest to access. You should also place heavier objects near the bottom so that they pose less of a falling hazard. 
  • Wider hallways make it easier for multiple foot traffic lanes to exist without risking people running into each other, which is especially critical when moving high-risk patients. 
  • Handrails in stairways and rooms for patients at risk of falling are a small addition but can be the difference between a scuffed knee and a broken hip. 

Embracing Ergonomics with Cybernet’s Devices

As the relationship between healthcare groups and their staff continues to be a hot-button issue, employers must look for ways to make work easier and less stressful. 

By embracing ergonomic principles in the equipment they use and procedures they follow, healthcare groups can protect both employees and patients from injury and ensure better outcomes. 

If your healthcare group is looking for medical-grade computers and tablets designed with ergonomics in mind, contact the team at Cybernet Manufacturing. We would be happy to review the ergonomic features of our devices, such as anti-glare filters, convenient battery placement, weight-saving design features, and more. 

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