Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)
What is an ergonomics assessment for?
An ergonomics assessment (sometimes referred to as workstation assessments) is designed to lower risk of injury and improve employee productivity by ensuring that a worker’s workspace is ergonomically sound. This assessment can be done at multiple locations, from offices to industrial warehouses to in-home work stations.
Whether you are an employer, administrator, or employee, it is vital to ensure that your environment is ergonomically friendly and meets certain standards (for example, standards set by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)).
Below are a few effective assessment models that may benefit your workstation.
Office Ergonomics Onsite Evaluations
Individual office workstation evaluations are completed using an effective ergonomics assessment model and a structured interview process to gather information.
A well-tailored office evaluation model should include:
· Basic ergonomics education and educational materials to look over
· Measurements of the space
· A report with all findings and recommendations should be generated
· An objective risk factor assessment should be completed
· A discomfort survey should be administered
· An option to follow ups when requested
Virtual Ergonomics Evaluations
Evaluations are typically completed onsite, but virtual ergonomics evaluations are also an option. Virtual evaluations can save you money on travel, out-of-pocket costs, and time.
What you should expect from the virtual ergonomics evaluation process:
· Digital instructions (either e-mailed or made available online)
· Assessment via telephone for real-time communication
· E-mailing photos and measurements to your consultant
· Employee contact by telephone for the assessment
· A generated report that is no different than an onsite report
· Options for follow up discussion when requested
Office Ergonomics Mini Assessments
Mini assessments are short assessments that generally take about 20-30 minutes each. They are conducted at the person’s work area. This is a good option if you do not need a formal report and need to save time and money. It is recommended employees take the one hour ergonomics training course prior to the mini assessments.
Benefits of Office Ergonomics Mini Assessments:
· You save money, as 2-3 can be done in an hour
· You can get workable solutions quicker for your staff
· There is less disruption in the workplace
· It takes less time, so there is less impact on productivity
Evaluations for industrial, manufacturing and other non-office type jobs are designed to determine the frequency, duration and intensity of jobs/tasks that may contribute to, or create, ergonomics risk factors.
Your ergonomics consultant should make use of published and commonly used tools and, where applicable, your consultant must follow state standards and guidelines, to minimize existing ergonomics risk factors.
An ergonomics assessment specialist should use a structured process to identify practical and realistic interventions to solve problems and eliminate ergonomics risks factors through engineering, administrative and/or work practice controls.
The following work spaces would benefit from an industrial evaluation: libraries, fishing and transportation vessels, transportation vehicles (bus, car, truck, rail), educational facilities, municipalities, nursing homes, retail, hotels, school districts, restaurants, semi-conductor industries, manufacturers, hospitals/clinics, logging operations, and more.
As with any work place systems, it is important to do due diligence in finding an ergonomics consultant that best fits your workstation needs. Be sure to consult the proper experts for assistance and remain proactive about learning and establishing best practices.
For an ergonomics consultation, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more detailed information.
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