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Easy Ergonomic Solutions for Schools

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Ergonomics issues such as strains and sprains are consistently among the top causes of injury in schools. By addressing potential ergonomic issues, school staff will be more comfortable and productive. Here are some simple solutions for your school staff.


When arriving at school, teachers may find it tempting to carry as much as possible to avoid extra trips. But carrying too much at once can be bad news for backs. Encourage school employees to only carry what they can reasonably fit in two hands and take multiple trips to lessen the load.

When working with a student, teachers should pull up a chair and sit down instead of kneeling or leaning over desks. This can help avoid back strain or unnecessary pressure on the knees.

All Staff

School employees who spend a lot of time at desks should make sure their work spaces are adjusted correctly:

  • When looking at a computer, the top of the monitor should be just below eye level
  • Arms should be relaxed at your sides, bent at 90-degree angles
  • Knees should also be at 90-degree angles, with feet flat on the floor and room between the back of the knees and the edge of the chair
  • The back of the chair should support the lower back area

Kitchen Staff

Storing heavy kitchen equipment near the floor can cause problems when workers try to lift the items, but keeping tools on higher shelves can cause shoulder injuries. The best way to prevent these types of injuries is to store the heaviest kitchen tools and supplies on shelves between knee and waist level.

Standing for long periods of time can cause back strain. To help prevent injuries, provide heavy rubber, anti-fatigue mats for kitchen staff to stand on, and ask them to wear shoes with good arch support and encourage frequent stretching breaks.

Custodian or Maintenance Staff

Lifting heavy mop buckets up to a sink for filling or emptying puts maintenance employees at risk for injury. Better strategies include using a sink mounted on the ground or choosing mop buckets with bottom openings that can be emptied into a floor drain.

Removing heavy trash bags from trash containers can be difficult. Drilling holes in the bottom of the can releases air pressure and makes it easier for janitorial staff to remove the full bags.

If you need to lift or move something that’s heavy or awkward, make sure you use the right equipment for the job. Try a two-wheel dolly, a cart or a hydraulic lifting device.

Bus Drivers

Long periods of time spent driving a vibrating vehicle can lead to lower back pain. Bus drivers can help their bodies run smoothly by taking breaks when possible, walking around between trips and stretching when stopped. Applying more force to the controls can also help take some of the strain off the driver’s back.

Create a Program

An ergonomics program can help prevent injuries from repetitive motions, lifting and awkward postures. Start by identifying jobs with ergonomic risks. Your buildings and grounds staff are likely candidates, but don’t forget about kitchen staff, special education and your teachers and other support staff.

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