According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, there were over 272,000 days away from work caused by musculoskeletal disorders, otherwise known as ergonomic injuries. Workplace injuries like these cause pain, loss of worker productivity, and have a negative impact on their employers too.
But, there are ways to prevent them with proper workplace ergonomics. The question of “what is ergonomics” is often brought up in the interest of improving workplace safety and productivity. If you are looking for ways to make your workplace safer, ergonomics in the workplace is a good jumping-off point.
What Is Ergonomics in the Workplace?
A common question is “what is the meaning of ergonomics in the workplace?” Ergonomics is a focus on improving the design of a workplace so that it better fits the user’s needs. This reduces discomfort for the worker while increasing productivity and efficiency.
Awkward postures, extreme temperatures, and repeated motions can put stress on your body. Workers may feel fatigue, discomfort, or pain from this stress. Either over time or immediately, this can lead to musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs.
These MSDs affect a person’s muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves and can lead to potentially severe injuries for employees and workers’ compensation claims for employers.
By implementing ergonomics in the workplace, workers can be safer and have less of a chance of injury.
What Is the Goal of Ergonomics in the Workplace?
The goal of ergonomics is to improve a workplace, systems, and products so they better fit the workers using them. But, other goals can also be met. One of the biggest ones is that fewer employees will experience discomfort due to their work.
This can lead to increased morale. It also reduces absenteeism since workers are healthy and less likely to need time off due to injury.
If one is in a more comfortable position, one will develop less fatigue during the workday. This reduced discomfort can make workers more productive and efficient while increasing job satisfaction.
Implementing ergonomic solutions can even help save money. Fewer injuries mean less downtime and more production. Plus, there will be fewer workers’ compensation claims, which can become very expensive.
How to Implement Ergonomics in the Workplace
Ergonomics can take many forms in the workplace. An easy and cost-effective way is to encourage movement throughout the day. If possible, have workers change tasks every so often.
You can also adjust the workspace and implement ergonomically designed furniture and tools. For example, adjust computer screens so they are closer to eye level. You can also arrange your work area so frequently used items are within easier reach.
Invest in ergonomic furniture, like an ergonomic chair that encourages good posture and offers support while sitting. Adjustable heights with proper seat width and depth can put less pressure on the knees and legs.
Furthermore, you may want to invest in ergonomic keyboards for desk workers. Items like keyboards are often overlooked, but can help prevent stress and pain in the wrists and hands.
Invest in an Ergonomics Assessment for your Workplace
If you are trying to design a comfortable and efficient workplace for yourself and your employees, you’ll most likely come upon the question of “what is ergonomics?” Hopefully now you have a better understanding of ergonomics as the perfect way to improve the health, comfort, and efficiency of workers.
That said, properly setting up an ergonomics workplace can be a daunting task. We always recommend contacting an ergonomics consultant to perform an ergonomics assessment. An ergonomics assessment will ensure that a workspace is properly setup for maximum productivity and improved safety.
Contact the ergonomics experts at Solutions Northwest Inc. for more information. You may also want to consider an affordable virtual ergonomics assessment, which can be done remotely (all you need is access to e-mail or a smart phone).
At SolutionsNW.com we value the importance of a positive workplace culture. Part of a positive workplace is a safe workplace, Contact Us to schedule an ergonomics consultation or ergonomics assessment for your office today.
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