What Does Optimal Work Zone Mean?
An optimal work zone is the area in which an employee can perform a specific task, or set of tasks, while maintaining a comfortable and neutral posture. Work performed in the optimal work zone is less likely to cause musculoskeletal problems, or injuries, than work that requires the employee to reach, or apply force, outside of this zone. The optimal work zone is sometimes referred to as the best work zone or preferred work zone.
WorkplaceTesting Explains Optimal Work Zone
An optimal work zone permits an employee to perform most of his or her job tasks while maintaining neutral posture. Each body part and muscle group should be considered when determining the optimal work zone for a task.
When standing or sitting, an optimal work zone is one which allows the employ to maintain the spine's natural S-curve. Positions that require an employee to lean too far forward to reach a tool or twist to push a button are not optimal. Additionally, employees should not need to bend their neck or wrist awkwardly to perform job tasks. Items that are commonly used for a job, or task, should be placed in a neutral reach zone, the optimal work zone for the arms.
Ergonomically designed jobs that provide for performance of tasks within the optimal work zone increase productivity and comfort for employees while reducing musculoskeletal risk factors and injury.