Types of Ergonomics – What They Are and How They Can Benefit Workers
Types of ergonomics were developed so as to help human beings while at work. As the word implies, this branch of science seeks to improve and design things in such a way that they will be able to make working conditions easier for all individuals, including employees, who may have to use them. These types of ergonomics have evolved over time and are now continuously being revised in line with the latest developments in human health and technology. In fact, the scope of ergonomics is so broad and vast that it encompasses not only office work but also include activities like swimming, exercising, sewing, sports and games, hobbies and other work-related movements.
Ergonomics was first introduced back in the 20th century. Its original intent was to promote worker safety by ensuring that workers have comfortable and safe working conditions. It also aims to alleviate or eliminate work-related injuries that are usually caused by the way things are set up. Types of ergonomics include the following: structural; functional; physical; and behavioral. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Structural injuries occur when bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments of the person getting worked on get damaged. It can be in the form of an actual injury to the body or it can also be in the form of strain or stress to the body that causes bones to move out of place. This can cause pain, swelling or bruising. Some of these injuries may need immediate medical attention, while others may require a bit of time to heal. Preventing such injuries from happening in the first place though is still best.
Physical injuries refer to any type of physical ailment that happens to an individual while he or she is at work. These types of ergonomics have been identified to occur as the result of prolonged periods of standing or sitting at work stations. They can be caused by lack of proper space or excessive lifting. They can also be caused by ill-fitting workstations and equipment.
Muscular injuries can happen anytime, but they are more common among those who are working in industrial or construction sites. They can range from minor strains to sprains and even broken bones. Such injuries should not be taken lightly, especially if they are the result of overworking or poor lifting techniques. Workers who suffer from such ailments must be given proper guidance and rehabilitation services.
Behavioral problems can also be attributed to various types of ergonomics. These occur when people feel uncomfortable or tense while performing their jobs. Some may experience headaches, nausea and increased levels of tiredness. Some simply avoid working in such circumstances fearing an onset of serious injuries. Such cases demand immediate medical attention and should never be ignored or left unattended.
Injuries due to improper tools or equipment can also be attributed to different types of ergonomics. If a worker is using equipment that is too high for his height or that requires too much physical exertion, he may get injured. Similarly, when he uses unsuitable workstations, he faces the risk of suffering from muscle strain or injuries resulting from wrong body positions.
Lastly, there are negative effects of working with improper types of ergonomics. They include reduced productivity, shortened work periods and sick days. The bottom line is that such workplace hazards cause workers’ lives to be compromised and can cause financial losses as well. To avoid such situations, employers should invest in various types of ergonomics that not only protect employees but also promote good health and productivity. It should go without saying that these employers should go for ergonomics that have been scientifically tested and proven to be safe and efficient.