On 7 December 2017, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Health and Wellness Committee organized a seminar on “Practical Ergonomics” as its year-end activity in cooperation with the All UP Workers Alliance, and as part of the TAYO Flagship Program of UPOU. “Practical Ergonomics” was intended to introduce the UPOU employees to the practice of ergonomics in the workplace and enable employees to properly assess and find solutions to the hazards in the workplace.

In the opening message, Dr. Jean Saludadez, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration shared how ergonomics is important to her especially that she spends so much time doing work for the university. Quoting from UP Artist and Former Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso, Dr. Saludadez said that “everything begins with design.” She thanked everyone for joining the activity and hoped that the workshop will contribute to more productive employees and their better well-being.

Dr. Rosemary Seva served as the seminar’s resource person. She is the Continuous Quality Improvement Director and a Former Dean at the Gokongwei College of Engineering of the De Lasalle State University where she also teaches engineering subjects. Dr. Seva has a Master of Science degree in Technology Ergonomics from New South Wales and PhD in Engineering at the Nanyang University in Singapore.

Dr. Seva presented how ergonomics started and defined it as “optimizing human performance.” According to Dr. Seva, ergonomics covers the physical, cognitive and organizational processes, and involves assessment, design and evaluation. She zeroed in on the common occupational injuries and disorders, and emphasized that the benefits of implementing ergonomics in the workplace include reduced work injury, increased productivity and product quality and improved morale among employees.

According to Dr. Seva, practical solutions to ergonomic problems in the workplace include working at appropriate heights, using document holders to maintain proper posture, raising your monitor if necessary, reducing glare, using footsteps when needed, keeping the writs straight, not cradling the telephone, keeping your tools within reach, taking short breaks from your computer every two hours and walking and doing simple stretches for at least five minutes every hour.

Dr. Seva concluded the seminar with a short workshop about occupational hazard assessment and providing solutions to these problems. She was presented a certificate of appreciation and a token for sharing her knowledge. The seminar was streamed live via Ms. Jelaine Bagos of the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies served as the event’s emcee.