A productive work environment is a safe work environment. Regardless of the type or size of a business, procedures for safety protect the staff, equipment, and business property. By avoiding damage to equipment as well as minimizing injuries, there will be more profit and fewer expenses for the business.
Ergonomics is one of the most-common workplace safety concerns because the non-ergonomic environment may cause various health issues. Carpal tunnel syndrome, sore back, tendonitis, and chronic cold and flu (due to lowered immunity) may come as a result of inadequate or non-existent workplace ergonomic processes.
What Is Ergonomics?
In 1993, McCormick and Sanders explained ergonomics as the application of information about human abilities, limitations, and behavior toward creating jobs, tasks, tools, and machines that facilitate a comfortable, effective, safe, and productive work environment. In other words, ergonomics is the relationship between the job or task and the worker. It includes studying aspects of the workplace, such as work environment, physical environment, psychosocial environment, and technology.
Conducting an ergonomic risk assessment will help organizations understand and review the work systems and designs present in their workspace, as well as to understand if they’re complying with the current legislation in this area.
The Necessity of Ergonomics in the Workplace
Staff across many industries and occupations are exposed to various health risk factors in the workplace. These factors include issues such as:
- Reaching overhead
- Lifting heavy items
- Pushing and pulling heavy objects
- Wrong body postures
When done incorrectly, these activities affect the nervous and muscular system, causing Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). Work-related MSDs are among the most-common reported causes of loss of work and absenteeism. However, rotator cuff injuries, tendinitis, muscle strains, and back injuries can be prevented thanks to ergonomics in the workplace.
Employers need to do everything to set the right working conditions for their staff and to ensure their safety. The work environment should pose no serious harm to their safety, health, and welfare. To implement a workplace ergonomics process, employers must:
- Create and maintain a safe workplace. The objectives and goals of the organization’s ergonomic process must be clearly stated, and management must assign responsibilities to staff members.
- When conducting an ergonomic risk assessment and developing processes, the staff’s input must be taken into consideration.
- Train the staff, so they understand the importance of applied ergonomics processes at work and are aware of the benefits.
- Appoint a competent staff member as the organization’s Safety Officer or Representative to conduct periodic checklist evaluations of the applied ergonomic process for its continuous improvement and long-term success.
- Encourage staff members to report early symptoms of MSD to reduce, control, and eliminate these health problems.
Organizations across many industries have successfully implemented ergonomic solutions. Wanting to address their staff’s MSD injury risks, these interventions include making changes in work practices, modifying existing equipment, and purchasing new devices or tools (e.g., The Checker Software). By eliminating unnecessary movements and reducing physical demands, companies can lower their injury rates and compensation costs as well as reduce employee turnover.