Pharmacy » Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Stool with footrest
Stool with footrest.
Keep most work activities within repetitive access area
Keep most work activities within repetitive access area.


Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are exposed to ergonomic-related risk factors, such as repetitive movements, forceful exertions, awkward postures or contact stress, while performing tasks such as opening/closing bottle lids, or using a computer. Exposure to ergonomic hazards may lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) including carpel tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or tenosynovitis.

Recognized Controls and Work Practices

  • Use assistive devices, if available, to eliminate the need to do tasks manually, (e.g., use devices designed to open bottle lids for pharmacist).
  • Provide supportive comfortable chairs that include foot rests and ensure that there is knee clearance under the desk.
  • Redesign processes to incorporate variation into tasks (e.g., alternate repetitive tasks with those that do not require high repetition).
  • Provide anti-fatigue mats or lean stools when the job requires standing on hard surfaces.
  • Look at the workstation layout and:
    • Arrange materials and supplies in front of the body so they can be easily reached with the elbows in close to the torso.
    • Provide adjustable, supportive padded chairs that support the forearms, legs, and low back. Arm rests need to allow the elbows to hang normally at the side of the body.
    • Arrange monitors so that the most commonly viewed area is slightly (about 20 degrees) below horizontal eye level and can be seen without looking up, or leaning forward.
    • Provide engineering controls to limit awkward positions, (e.g., provide head-sets for employees to use when answering phones).
    • Use a keyboard, which includes an adjustable mouse support that can be easily reached from a keying position. Employees need to keep wrists straight while typing and use wrist pads to rest on when not typing.

Additional Information