Are you looking to reduce workplace injuries and accidents to minimise the costs associated with worker’s compensation? Are your organisation’s main core business objectives include improving productivity and product quality?
If so, enhancing your company’s workplace ergonomics process should be a top priority.
Many companies, both large and small, have already demonstrated the value of ergonomics in the past decades. There is little doubt that workplace ergonomics has numerous benefits both for companies and their employees.
Keep reading to learn how a workplace ergonomics process affects productivity, cost, quality, morale, risk and employee turnover.
WHAT IS OFFICE ERGONOMICS?
Specifically, ergonomics is the study of the connection between a worker and the important functions of a job. This study focuses on how workers position their bodies and interact with the work environment. Simply put, workplace ergonomics is about modifying a job and work environment that is safer and more comfortable for the worker.
Poor ergonomics in the workplace can cause pain and injury, which often leads to lost work time. Consequently, downtime can cost an organisation a significant amount of money.
Ergonomics in the workplace, such as office ergonomics, relates to items such as computer monitor stands, desks, chairs and other elements that make up an employee’s workstation. Office ergonomics focuses on the workers to ensure they are not at risk of workplace injuries or health complications.
Organisations seeking benefits that increase profits and improve productivity invest in ergonomic solutions. Office, medical, service and manufacturing industries all have work tasks with poor ergonomics.
In an office setting, ergonomics means finding a way to be comfortable using a telephone or a computer and performing office work tasks such as copying and faxing.
For instance, an employee of your organisation is having shoulder pain that’s been causing his or her productivity to slow down. This employee’s job functions include data entry and making calls.
Solutions to this problem may include:
- Purchasing ergonomic products
- Applying certain ergonomic designs and
- Implementing administrative changes
An example of an ergonomic product is adjustable office equipment based on a person’s body type. This equipment may even be specifically designed to reduce stress on the body.
Examples of ergonomic products include:
- Hearing protection
- Patient lifts
- Pneumatic tools
- Lifting devices, etc.
For those working in an office environment, the ergonomic solution would be using an adjustable workstation, cordless headset, ergonomic chair, alternative keyboard, etc.
Designing a comfortable working environment involves focusing on the proper placement of office equipment and the proper lifting of heavy objects. To reduce the risk of work-related injuries, an office worker should properly adjust his computer workstation and adjust his/her chair according to his/her body type.
Administrative changes are often very straightforward. Examples are taking stretch breaks, avoiding prolonged periods of sitting and certain repetitive movements.
WHAT ARE THE 5 PROVEN BENEFITS OF ERGONOMICS IN THE WORKPLACE?
According to a study, the 5 proven benefits of ergonomics in the workplace are a reduction of costs, an improvement in productivity & quality, better employee engagement and the creation of a better safety culture.
Ergonomics reduces costs
A systematic reduction of ergonomic risk factors can prevent costly work-related injuries such as MSDs or Musculoskeletal Disorders. Ergonomic injuries such as MSDs have been attributed to around $1 out of every $3 in workers’ compensation costs. Methodically reducing ergonomic risk factors represents an opportunity for significant cost savings.
Ergonomics improves productivity
A job and work environment designed to fit the worker allows for good posture, less exertion and fewer motions. Accordingly, an efficient workstation can increase a worker’s productivity.
Ergonomics improves quality
Pain and discomfort can cause workers to become irritable. Further, frustrated and fatigued workers may not perform their job properly. Consequently, product quality issues may arise due to the lack of proper ergonomics in the workplace.
Ergonomics improves employee engagement
Ergonomics can decrease employee absenteeism, reduce turnover, improve morale and increase employee involvement. Provided that a company has put forth its best efforts to ensure the health and safety of employees.
Ergonomics creates a better safety culture
Cumulatively, the combination of the previously mentioned 4 benefits of workplace ergonomics creates a better safety culture for an organisation. Better employee performance is a result of creating and fostering the health and safety culture of a company.
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO OFFICE ERGONOMICS
Typically, a workstation consists of a desk, chair and equipment to perform desk or computer-based tasks. Companies or organisations should provide adjustable equipment to allow their employees to adapt to workstations.
An adjustable workstation can provide support and comfort for the workers. As a result, workers can productively complete their required tasks.
Here are simple guidelines that can help set up a more comfortable working environment:
- Adjusting the seat height allows the elbows to fall naturally onto the desk, preventing the worker from reaching up or hunching over. There should be a footrest that provides full support for the feet.
- Adjusting the base of the seat allows the thighs to be parallel to the floor. There should be no excess pressure from the chair onto the thighs’ undersides or the calves.
- Adjusting the backrest will position the lumbar support in the small curve of the lower back. This makes the back to be approximately vertical.
- Ergonomic chairs are common ergonomic furniture found in many modern offices. These ergonomically-designed chairs help keep the user sitting upright while supporting the lower back, hips, thighs as well as neck and shoulders.
- Most desks used in an office are typically not adjustable. For this reason, it is essential to have an adjustable chair so that a workstation can be set up properly.
- It is ideal to have adjustable desks in an office as they can accommodate different types of users. Adjustable desks are helpful to people who need to alter their posture regularly to manage symptoms.
- For corner-based workstations, a 45-degree bridging section should be used to position a computer or task to minimise risk of reaching or twisting while working.
Computers & accessories
- The position of computer monitors should be directly in front of the users. Moreover, there should be a one-arm’s length distance between the user and the monitor.
- It is vital to keep a neutral position on the neck while viewing the computer screen. Therefore, the eyes should be level with the top third of the screen.
- Position the monitor at right angles to the windows to minimise screen glare. Also, adjust the screen controls or angle to reduce the glare from overhead lights.
- The position of the keyboard should be directly in front of the user. This way, the keyboard can be operated with the upper arms by the sides of the body. The forearms should be at a 90-degree angle and the wrists in a neutral position in line with the arm.
- Position the mouse as close to the keyboard as possible to minimise overreaching. Make sure the hand is relaxed when operating the mouse and rested when the mouse is not in use.
NEED TO ENHANCE YOUR WORKPLACE’S ERGONOMICS?
You’re now one step closer to creating a better work environment for your business and your employees. Implementing a workplace ergonomics process for your organisation can reduce costs, and improve productivity and product quality.
If you’re looking to improve the ergonomics of your workspaces, contact Agero today!
What are the 3 examples of ergonomics?
The 3 examples of ergonomics are physical, cognitive and organisational. Each type of ergonomics differs in the way they affect how people interact with their work environment. They contribute to how effective people are in their work.
What are the 5 aspects of ergonomics?
Safety, ease of use, comfort, aesthetics and productivity/performance are the 5 aspects of ergonomics. Ergonomics is a science concerning the relationship between people and their work.
What is the importance of ergonomics in the workplace?
Ergonomics is about modifying work systems and practices for the employee so that the work is safer and more efficient. Successful implementation of ergonomic solutions creates a more productive work environment.