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Saturday, May 31 • 3:00pm - 3:40pm
(Health and Safety Session) Ergonomics in Collection Care

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Ergonomics, the study of humans and the workplace, has been an important contributor to the understanding of the causes of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. These disorders including strains, sprains, tendinitis and related injuries are under-recognized hazards of collections work and are made worse by some aspects of museum workplaces and tasks.

Collections professionals often work in awkward and sustained positions in order to assure the integrity of collections. These positions and stresses have been recognized in manufacturing and service industries as major causes of musculoskeletal and neurological disorders that can cause temporary and permanent disabilities. Unlike employees in these other industries, collections workers may not have access to training, equipment and information to prevent these disorders. In addition, collection professionals have been known to disregard symptoms and safety concerns in order to meet exhibition or other deadlines (“The Show Must Go on Syndrome”).

Basic lessons from ergonomics about risks and prevention of these disorders in office work and specialized collections settings include understanding musculoskeletal cumulative trauma disorders (pathology and inflammatory reactions), their causation, and prevention. Case studies illustrate the ergonomic issues and recommended solutions in collection care activities.

avatar for David Hinkamp

David Hinkamp

Co-Director Health in the Arts Program, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
David Hinkamp MD, MPH (University of Michigan) is Board Certified in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. Dr. Hinkamp founded and serves as co-director of the Health in the Arts Program in the University of Illinois at Chicago and Cook County Hospital. This program works to prevent... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 3:00pm - 3:40pm PDT
Pacific Concourse F-G