Dish washing can be a pain, but it doesn't have to be uncomfortabe if you follow these simple idea outlined in this article.  But let's start off with... Ergonomics.

Ergonomics is the science and study of work.  You might have heard it before or you might have not, but the most likely place one learns about ergonomics is usually in the workplace.  Nowadays, most workplaces have a health and safety program that includes a component of applying ergonomics.  The reality is no one should be injured on the job, after all it really is only a job.

Ergonomics really first started out because people needed to increase productivity at work while ensuring injuries don't occur.  While working, there are several different types of injuries that can occur to the body and the major causes are:

  • Repetitive motions (like typing, using a computer mouse or working on an assembly line)
  • Overuse
  • Overexertion
  • Improper Lifting
  • Improper pushing and pulling

How does this apply to Dish Washing?

Improving the Dish Washing

Dish washing is something we all do.  And if we are part of a big family, the dishes do pile up, don't they?!  This stack of dirty dishes often means that we are standing in front the kitchen sink for a good 20 to 30 minutes.  It's good when you have help, but when you're washing them alone, it can take a while.

So what does ergonomic theory tell us?  First of all, standing for a prolonged period of time stresses our muscles.  The reality is this, if we stand for more than a duration of 15 minutes, it is good to have proper padding and posture.

Secondly, most kitchen floors (usually tiled or lined with linoleum) are hard surfaces.  This gives stresses and under prolong conditions may hurt your back and your feet. And because your not moving for a long time, the muscles start to tense up.

What you need is an Anti-Fatigue Mat!

That's right, they are called Anti-Fatigue Mats.  Commonly used in industrial settings, these anti-fatigue mats are something that should be more widely used at home.  The anti-fatigue mat works like this, it's basically a rubbery rug stuffed with a thick padding.

 The fatigue mats works to improve things in a few ways:

  1. Decrease feet back and knee stress.
  2. Improves traction in and around the dish-washing area.  Helps you plant your feet on the ground without slippage.
  3. Provide a padded coverage area for your feet to be comfortable and to be a shock absorber in case you dropped a dish (i.e. preventing a break).

I use a fatigue mat and I think it greatly improves my productivity.  This mat is in my opinion the best type of mat for dish washing purposes.  It's the right size to fit in front of any kitchen site in your house or condo.

If you happen to purchase and use this project, please leave me some comments about your experience with it.  If you use a anti-fatigue mat right now at home, I would like to know your experience with them.  It'll be great to share how you've come to use them.

Preventing Injuries

So how do we prevent injuries in general?

Well the first thing to do is to ensure that you are using the correct posture and that your muscles/body are prepared for the motion.  For example, if you are lifting something heavy, always use the strongest muscles to move and to steer instead of using your back muscles. Therefore, the rule of thumb is to put all the weight into and lift with your legs.  So in order to prevent injuries, the best way is to account for it, understand the best body part to use and to ensure proper actions throughout.