Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin March 2017

March 10, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 08/03/2017. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


HeaderImage03-2017The expression popularised by Mark Twain (and found elsewhere in publications dating back to the late nineteenth century) is as relevant today as it ever was. Since the start of the year, I have learned that ‘post-truth’ was the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016, the ‘10,000 steps a day’ mantra has little or no research basis (and may actually be harmful for some people), diesel cars are an environmental disaster and *X% of #Twitter/Facebook users treat social media as their primary news source. I shall completely avoid any references to ‘fake news’ and the use of Twitter in politics! Focussing just on the world of ergonomics and human factors, it has been troubling me for some time that it is very hard to be ‘an informed individual’ in a world of sound bites, unsubstantiated ‘facts’, misrepresented or inadequate research and marketing gloss. The whole sit-stand debate is a classic example of this. Does this confusion bother you too? Have you found a way to filter the nonsense? Should I just get a life and move on? I shall be blogging about this in the near future and welcome any thoughts or observations.
* insert any number between 28% and 62% – # insert social media channel of your choice


physio_firstAs we return to this event for the first time in a few years, we have been thinking about what services we can offer private practice physiotherapists, especially those who are unfamiliar with the Occupational Health demands of the workplace. We are therefore working on a series of workshops to provide a more contextual understanding of workplace musculo-skeletal issues and ways to support and improve the working conditions of those who suffer. If you are attending the conference, please come and talk to us on Stands 36 and 37.


sit-stand-plethoraAt least once a week, I receive notification from yet another Chinese manufacturer that they have introduced a new sit-stand adaptor. This usually prompts me to play ‘spot the clone’ in marketing literature and web sites! Amongst this array of (quite similar) choices, we still believe the Ergotron Workfit-T is the most elegant and stable option in most cases but products from the Far East are improving all the time and we now offer the Motus 1000 as a budget alternative. If a full sit-stand desk is not practical (due, perhaps, to bench furniture), these are certainly worth considering.


stockholmIf you have not already seen it, you can read my full report from the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair here. In a country where human factors are an integral contributor to product development, it is fascinating to observe how design and ergonomics merge. If you just want to look at the pictures, you can do that here. Frustratingly, the most exciting product I saw during my visit was a computer mouse that was not on display and I am unable to tell you about (yet)! Watch this space for full details in a few months’ time.


PostureGuidanceWhen we announced the 20th Anniversary of our Posture Guidance in the January eBulletin, we invited existing users to send samples of old editions. There have been many incarnations of this document and I am delighted to report that Amanda Jones of Lothian Occupational Health and Safety Services sent me a copy of the 2004 version! In those days, we were still using representations of CRT monitors and there were no mini-keyboards, laptops stands or sit-stand desk images. However, the underlying guidance remains unchanged after all this time.

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin February 2017

February 10, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 08/02/2017. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage02-2017Our free evening seminar in London on February 23rd provides an opportunity to see the new app-enabled Axia Smart Active chair and hear the latest thinking about sitting, standing and movement. Confused about mixed messages and bewildering reports in the press and social media? Here is your opportunity to hear an impartial overview of the latest research from Stephen Bowden of Morgan Maxwell. You can find the full programme, invitation and online booking facilities here.


healthandwellbeing2017If you are attending the Health & Wellbeing Exhibition & Conference at the NEC, Birmingham next month, be sure to come and visit us on Stand 113 (just inside the main entrance). New products have been arriving since the start of the year so you can be sure to find solutions you have not seen before. Sit-stand devices on display will include our Motus 1000, 2000 & 3000 ranges and we shall also have new accessories and seating. Whether you are coming with specific issues to address or just want to update your knowledge, let us know you are coming and we shall have your free gift ready when you arrive!


physio-firstIt is a while since we last exhibited at the annual Physio First conference. Since that time, there have been dramatic changes in the drive and vision of its executive and members. In conversations over the last few years, it has become clear to me that the ‘business’ of private practice physiotherapy in the UK is changing rapidly and Physio First is leading that change through the 9 Goals of its five year business plan. We want to support the development and growth of the organisation and its members and we shall therefore be back as exhibitors and participants this year!


input_devices_latestWe are constantly being approached by manufacturers offering us new products. We reject some of these just by viewing their web site, others are reviewed in our monthly WoW Factor process, most are rejected and a small selection survives to join our portfolio. Whilst some of our competitors keep adding new products, regardless of ergonomics merit, we prefer to restrict our selection so that customers can be confident that what we offer has been pre-qualified before introduction. This month we have already rejected a handful of Chinese sit-stand adaptors but we are delighted to see new input devices from Contour and Bakker Elkhuizen. Expect to see them on our web site soon!


osergresourcesAs you probably know, we regularly update and add to our range of downloadable pdfs and online information. There are many ways to access this but we have recently created a single point of reference. Whether you are looking for our social media pages, Posture Guidance, handheld devices advice, training information or links to lots more valuable information, bit.ly/OsErgResources takes you straight to it.

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin January 2017

January 13, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 11/01/2017. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage01-2017Back in October, I highlighted the expected arrival of this comprehensive assembly of articles and insights from some of Europe’s most knowledgeable and highly respected ergonomists (oh yes, and me!). It is now available. Edited by Steve Shorrock and Claire Williams, it contains about 30 chapters covering offices, healthcare, aviation, construction, agriculture, military, nuclear operations and much more. The editors have achieved their declared objective to create a wide-ranging publication about human factors and ergonomics as actually applied by practitioners in the real world. What I did not fully expect was the diversity of topics it covers and how much you can learn from these. Even if you have been involved in HF/E for many years (more than 20 in my case), there are many other areas of activity that you probably know little about and these are brought to life by specialists. These chapters provide real insights into the profession, its practitioners and the enormous contribution that HF/E can make to our everyday lives. It is also an excellent book if you are thinking about HF/E for a career and want to explore what fields of activity are most likely to appeal to you. For more insights, visit the book’s web site.


postureguidanceNow in its umpteenth iteration, our Posture Guidance has been available since 1997 and the latest update is now available. Countless thousands of copies have been handed out as printed documents or downloaded as pdfs over the years and updated versions have introduced mini keyboards, flat screens, laptop stands and, of course, sit-stand desks. Do you have the oldest copy still in use? Just send me a photo and let us see what we find! Every participant will receive a small gift. Please respond by January 31, 2017.


healthandwellbeing2017We shall be exhibiting in the same location at this year’s event on March 7-8, 2017: Stand 113 just inside the hall entrance. As always, we shall have a range of new products and services to discuss and we look forward to seeing old and new friends. As in previous years, we also have a small number of FREE conference delegate passes to give away in advance. To take part in the draw for one of these, simply email us your contact details by January 31, 2017. For more information about the event, see the web site.


stockholmfurniturefairSweden kicks off the international exhibition season with an event that is primarily about aesthetics but, being Scandinavian, includes plenty of ergonomics as well. Stockholm Furniture Fair on February 7-11, 2017 is part of Stockholm Design Week and the home exhibition for many of the ergonomics brands we know in the UK. I look forward to witnessing the new launches. I shall be providing live information from the event through our various Social Media channels and will blog my observations in mid-February.

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin December 2016

December 16, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 14/12/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage12-2016As the end of the year approaches, we welcome the festive season and celebrate 7 years of uninterrupted monthly eBulletins. If you are a customer, it is the time for us to thank you once again for your continued support. In a highly competitive market, we thank you for valuing our commitment to customer service and quality products. We really appreciate your business. We also know that many of our regular readers are not customers but do specify and recommend us to clients and others. This is another valued source of business and, if you are not doing so already, we invite you to explore other ways to keep in touch such as social media or our many webinars and training events. Whether this time of year is important to you for religious or family reasons – or just the chance to eat and drink too much and fall asleep in front of the TV! – we wish you a very happy time and look forward to speaking to you in 2017.


axia_smart_activeIs this the future of seated wellbeing? BMA have addressed the ‘sit less, move more’ conundrum with the latest version of their Smart Chair technology. We believe the Axia Smart Active chair is unique worldwide in delivering Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone app, creating a personal, multi-functional posture coach. Sensors in the chair seatpan enable the app to track movement, sitting time and posture changes (or lack of them) and it prompts to encourage dynamic chair use. It also gives personalised tips and practical advice according to the individual’s behaviour. For further information, view the video or contact us.


dorsetairambulanceIt is many years since we last sent Christmas cards but we still associate this seasonal donation loosely with giving up the practice and spending the money more effectively. Our personnel are invited to nominate their chosen charity and then we all vote to decide on the recipient. For 2016, our Christmas donation goes to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. With an average cost of £2,500 per mission and no funding except charitable donations, we all believe this is a very worthy cause.


appsThis is a little off-piste compared to my usual items but I use a wide variety of tablet/smartphone apps (more than 150 at the last count) and I thought it might be of interest to share those I use most often or find most useful. This is not intended to be one of those ‘ten things that changed my life’ lists. If that is what you are looking for, try GQ’s 100 Best Things in the World Right Now. By contrast, I hope my short list contains at least one or two that you do not already know about that might potentially save you time or money or make your life a little easier.  [more]


price_risesIt is common for manufacturers to propose price rises at this time of year. You will be aware (and I have mentioned before) that Sterling/Dollar and Sterling/Euro fluctuations have impacted everyone and we expect price rises from all our suppliers. Some increases are significant (although all look trivial compared to Microsoft and Apple!). To minimise increases, most manufacturers are looking at product-by-product reviews rather than a systemic increase. Price updates will be published once we have consolidated the information we have, but I would strongly recommend that you contact us as soon as possible if you are planning or budgeting for significant purchases in 2017. The sooner we know, the more we can do to help.

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin November 2016

November 11, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 09/11/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage11-2016Providing bespoke chairs for individuals with musculoskeletal problems continues to be a core part of our business but, as our larger scale project business evolves, we have been working with clients for greater integration of standard and bespoke offerings. This is particularly important when budgets are constrained.
One key way of approaching this is with our Capsule Collection (CC) approach. Put simply, a CC includes a small, medium and large model of one chair using three different backs and three different seats. Crucially, these elements are all interchangeable. This creates the potential for nine different variants, all at the same price and all with independent seat and back adjustability, inflatable lumbar support and seat slide as standard.
Add a few key optional extras such as neckrest, coccyx cutout and a choice of armrests and the CC portfolio offers a wide mix of rapidly deployed, quick-fix solutions which will address a high proportion of individual needs. Inevitably, there will always be personnel who are outside the dimensional norms or have more complex requirements and, for these cases, it is easy to implement an escalation process to accommodate them (we have been doing that for over 20 years!).
Choosing one or more models of such a CC as your principal operator chair simplifies procurement and provides an even more cost-effective capability because standard chairs can be modified on site by swapping seat or back pads or adding an option. This methodology has proved particularly popular in the public sector.
Contact us for more information.


iso_iipOctober was a busy month for system reviews. Both our ISO9001/14001 Integrated Management System and our Investors in People Gold status were due for two-day inspections and renewal. The ISO IMS was renewed without any non-conformances, or even any advisories, and the IiP inspection scored us even higher than 3 years ago (as we hoped!). For us, these are not just ‘plaques on the wall’ but external validation of our organisational DNA, reflecting the hard work and commitment of our excellent team.


new_occufitOur portfolio of medical, healthcare and industrial seating products has been extended significantly in recent months and our new PDF catalogue can now be downloaded here. It shows all the variants of key models – more than 170 in total – and includes answers to many of the most common questions such as key dimensional data, upholstery options and warranty information.


orgatec_visitMy Orgatec visit this year was somewhat disrupted by a cancelled flight and resultant delay on the way out. However, I did get round all the halls with more than 32,000 steps recorded on my FitBit! Sit-stand furniture is now (finally) mainstream and only the Chinese frame manufacturers were really making it an issue. Of our existing supply partners, the Sofi Mesh chair was the most significant new introduction. I shall blog a more comprehensive report after my holiday.

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin October 2016

October 24, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 12/10/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage10-2016As I write this, we are coming to the end of World Mental Health Day here in the UK. There have been all sorts of physical and virtual events and plenty of activity on social media. Two campaigns particularly caught my eye: #Take10Together from MHFA and the NHS/Jordan Stephens collaboration #IamWhole. As our activities are drawn more and more into human factors as well as physical ergonomics, we are working with organisations and individuals who provide mental health education, training and support. If you need some suggestions about suitable partners, we shall be glad to help.


advantage2After many years of success with the original Advantage, we are delighted to introduce the new Advantage 2 which maintains the proven Contoured keyboardTM design with low force mechanical keyswitches for proven comfort and reduced musculo-skeletal load. New to this model is the SmartSetTM programming engine which provides powerful keyboard configuration tools to boost productivity. The old rubber function keys have also been replaced with high quality tactile mechanical keyswitches, further enhancing the product of choice for software engineers, programmers and intensive users the world over. Download the U.S. brochure here or visit our web site for more information.


techno_gremlinWe are very proud of our advanced use of technology in all its forms and (nearly all of the time!) we are completely in control of all our processes. In the last month, however, two separate events occurred unexpectedly. First, our eBulletin provider experienced a cyber attack which resulted in our April Fools’ Day Get Britain Sleeping newsletter being resent. No contact details were accessed: the calendar was simply reset, triggering the resend. Second, my phone started going through my address book and inviting everyone to join me on LinkedIn. Both issues are now resolved and I hope you were not inconvenienced by either. I apologise if you were.


hfe_in_practiceFor the ergonomist in your life, the perfect present will be available just before Christmas! Human Factors and Ergonomics in Practice: Improving System Performance and Human Well-Being in the Real World is edited by Steven Shorrock and Claire Williams, two very experienced and highly respected members of the ergonomics community. Their vision, more than two years ago, was to create  a publication that demonstrates the practice and benefits of human factors and ergonomics (HFE) ‘at the sharp end’. This is not a book of academic theories, it is a series of explanations and case studies outlining how HFE is being applied every day in real-life, practical applications. There’s even a chapter by me!


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin September 2016

October 20, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 14/09/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage09-2016Although we repeat many of our key webinars on a regular basis and at different times of day, some of our international participants find it hard to attend if they are in a significantly different time zone. In addition, other pressing demands sometimes prevent our UK delegates from attending events they have booked. We are therefore in the process (rather belatedly, some might say!) of recording each of our core sessions so that you can ‘attend’ at a time and place to suit your own diary. The first ones can be found here (with some other interesting videos). More will follow soon.


healthyworkingAt our August Training Day, we were shown the new Healthy Working assessment and e-learning package which is being phased in to replace Workstation Safety Plus by our partners, Cardinus. This radical new approach has been developed in partnership with Health & Safety Laboratory. In our view, it is altogether more holistic and responsive than any of its competitors, encompassing all types of computer work, devices and locations into a single, integrated and dynamic process. The quality and scope of this new product reflects the extensive research and development programme that led to its launch. Contact us for further information.


iso27500I know that I keep raising this topic but I attended the official launch at BSI on September 1st and I really believe this is an opportunity to put ergonomics and human factors at the centre of organisational strategy. It was interesting to attend an event with such a diversity of interests (including delegates with responsibility for user experience, quality, technology, design, wellbeing, compliance, risk and occupational health, as well as ergonomics, human factors, health and safety). A LinkedIn discussion has started here but, if you can’t access that, try here.


knowledge250pxBakker Elkhuizen, another of our close partners, has just launched a new online Knowledge Centre. We have worked with the team at BE for nearly twenty years and their research and resources have prompted or informed many of our own webinars, seminars and articles. This month also sees the launch of their new corporate headquarters in the Netherlands and some exciting new products – but I am sworn to secrecy for the time being! Check out our social media channels for sneak previews or wait for further information here in due course.


livechat250pxMany people have already taken advantage of the new instant Chat facility on our main web site. We have been surprised that it has become instantly popular. Providing answers is not yet one person’s full time job but some days it seems like that! It has been really interesting to see the sort of questions people ask. Some can be answered in an instant and some remind us of the old ‘Which is better for RSI – a trackball or an ergonomic mouse?’ conundrum. At least our answers are not restricted to 140 characters! Some questions are also giving us ideas about how to develop the site and what further information and resources to add.


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