Early in the private beta we had this discussion "Are workspace-ergonomics questions on-topic?" There was no real resolution at that time besides ask the question and we will see how they fly.

Is ergonomics on topic?

We have had a few questions lately:

What is the best way to make extended laptop use ergonomic?

How do you manage a mass chair purchase?

That attracted close votes with comments like: Right now this is not really a Workplace question but rather an ergonomics question.

So I think now would be a good time to decide if general workplace ergonomics questions on are on topic.

  • Do you mean "office ergonomics" or "workplace ergonomics?"
    – enderland
    May 17 '13 at 17:04
  • @enderland - Ergonomics in general is a workplace issue, though it can be applied outside the workplace as well. May 17 '13 at 17:05
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    The reason I make that distinction is there are a lot of workplace related ergonomics questions related to jobs other than office jobs, such as manufacturing, welding, etc. This site is nearly entirely "office workplace" which is why this is an important distinction imo.
    – enderland
    May 17 '13 at 17:16
  • Ok I modified the question I had not intended to exclude non office workplaces May 17 '13 at 17:26
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    I guess I'm coming more from the perspective of someone having worked closely with an ergonomics engineer for a while, the questions we get here are a very small subset of what constitutes ergonomics. I'm indifferent myself, but we HAVE mostly received questions for people who work in an office environment.
    – enderland
    May 17 '13 at 17:30

This should be on topic.

Repetive motion Injury has the longest average lost time rate of any workplace injury 1

This is a common risk to professionals and proper ergonomics can help reduce the risk, and mitigate the damage from Repetitive motion injury.2

This problem is widespread and can be debilitating. In general so long as the question is asked in a manner which can be interpreted to be asking for a workplace answer then it should be considered on topic. The questions still need to meet other requirements (no shopping/list/non-constructive questions) but any ergonomics question asked should be assumed to be asked in context of the workplace unless specifically stated otherwise(which then makes it off topic)


The Free Online Dictionary defines "ergonomics" as follows:

Design factors, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by minimizing operator fatigue and discomfort: The ergonomics of the new office were felt to be optimal.

Questions about how to maximize productivity in the workplace are definitely on-topic. While the Free Online Dictionary also defines ergonomics as a science, it's a field that directly applies to the types of problems that we're helping people solve.

These two questions are either a part of workplace safety or workplace productivity. These are all things that are on-topic on a site about navigating the professional workplace.

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