Awkward Postures

Quick Fact: Awkward postures like bending and reaching increase effort, cause fatigue, and can result in injury. In many cases they’re wasted motions that increase the time to perform a task and reduce the quality of work.

Cartoon figure wearing green clothes and an orange & yellow safety vest reaching above its head into a tree to prune some branches. Examples of Awkward Postures:

  • Working with the arms raised.
  • Bending at the back.
  • Bending at the neck.
  • Twisting.
  • Reaching.
  • Bending the wrists.
  • Kneeling or squatting.
Evaluation Tools Training Materials Solutions

Simple tools:

L&I and OR-OSHA Lifting Calculator

L&I’s Caution Zone and Hazard Zone Checklists.

L&I’s Ergonomics Checklist (320KB PDF)

Quick Exposure Check (QEC) HSE UK.

Advanced tools:

Rapid Upper Limb Analysis (RULA) on-line.

RULA downloadable tools.

Rapid Entire Body Analysis (REBA) downloadable tools.

REBA downloadable software.


Ergonomics Principles for Reducing Awkward Postures (624 KB PDF)

Safety in Manufacturing: Awkward Postures WorkSafe BC

Awkward Postures – NIOSH


Ergonomics Awareness Education for Employees and Supervisors

More Slideshows

Interactive Training

Computer Workstation Adjustment and Mobile Computing

Habit At Work - Office and Industrial Training ACC New Zealand

On-line Videos

Dr. Ergo on Awkward Postures

Links to more materials:

Ergonomics – General Information CROET

Man in blue work clothes working on wood sitting atop orange sawhorses inside of a warehouse. Caption: Sawhorses were used to create standing workstations to minimize kneeling and bending.

Find more solution ideas like this one in the Ergonomics Ideas Bank.

Other sources of solutions:

Easy Ergonomics (1.7 MB / 5 min. PDF) CalOSHA

Stooped and Squatting Postures in the Workplace (2.6 MB / 7 min. PDF) UC Berkeley

Recommended Workstation Measurements NIOSH

Worker Safety in Hospitals (OSHA topic page).


Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Want more help?

Our ergonomics consultants have experience helping employers in all industries address awkward postures. Find out how to request a no-cost consultation here.

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