Ergonomics in the workplace has recently been gaining a great deal of attention from both workers and employers. In fact, the American College of Occupational and Health Psychology (ACOHA) reports that almost 70% of today’s office workers experience at least one form of ergonomic-related injury. Ergonomics is the science of how individuals can perform tasks in such a way that increases their level of comfort and also reduces the chance of injury. Among these activities include using keyboards, printers, hand tools, footwear, computer equipment, and so forth. Ergonomics also takes into account the fact that humans are not designed to perform certain tasks in the same way, and that certain methods may increase or decrease the risk of certain types of injuries. Thus, ergonomics is basically the study of how people can work in a comfortable and productive environment, free from pain and injury.
Workers and employers who practice ergonomics in the workplace can greatly reduce the number of workplace injuries and illnesses. In addition, these employers can greatly reduce the number of back injuries and other types of health problems for their employees. Ergonomics is becoming more important as workers continue to use computers on a regular basis.
According to ACOHA, “wear and improper technique have been linked with a number of lower back, neck, shoulder, hip, and knee injuries and chronic pain, disability, lower self-esteem, and decreased productivity.” Ergonomics can prevent employees from becoming fatigued, which leads to poor performance and reduced productivity. The following are some common ways that employees become fatigued.
Not having the proper workspace can lead to neck and back strain. Long periods of standing can compress spinal bones and trigger carpal tunnel syndrome. Employees should try to maintain good posture when using computers and other equipment. They should also avoid prolonged periods of standing, which can weaken the spine and create strain on the neck and shoulders. Good ergonomics in the workplace can help workers stay more efficient and less fatigued. The reduction of risk factors can significantly improve productivity and profitability.
Employees often lose productivity levels when they are required to sit in a certain position for a long period of time. Proper ergonomics in the workplace can prevent this from happening. It can also reduce the amount of fatigue that employees experience. When people are comfortable enough to stay seated for a longer period of time, they are more likely to stay involved in the work activity.
Certain jobs, such as those involving repetitive tasks, can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomics is designed to help people function more effectively while they are at work. By creating a better workplace, workers will be less likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome or other workplace injuries. When workers feel more comfortable in their workplaces, they tend to be more productive than they were before. This increased productivity may not only decrease the amount of time that they are required to spend sitting in a chair, but it may also lower the amount of time they are required to spend in a carpal tunnel.
In many cases, ergonomics in the workplace refers to the proper arrangement and use of equipment and other physical processes in the workplace that can promote optimal health and productivity. Certain changes, like those that occur with computer workstations, may have a profound positive effect on employee health and wellness. Some experts believe that the introduction of computers into the workforce has led to more severe cases of neck and shoulder pain among workers. A better-designed office chair or workstation can help prevent this type of pain by helping to align the body’s spine and reducing stress on the neck and shoulders. The proper use of lumbar and shoulder friendly workstations can also reduce the number of work-related musculo-skeletal injuries.
Changes in office furniture and workstations, as well as the addition of ergonomics aids such as keyboards, mouse mats and other accessories can have a profound positive effect on employee productivity levels. These changes can also lead to an overall reduction in injuries related to the work environment, as well as an overall increase in overall job satisfaction. This, in turn, has a direct correlation to employee profitability.