Having a workplace centered on ergonomics has many benefits. It improves worker efficiency, and it also helps cut down on many types of workplace injuries, including those related repetitive stress that develop over time.
These include things like carpel tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and back problems, and they can have a long and lasting impact on a worker’s productivity, as well as their quality of life. Of course, they also often lead to workers’ comp claims, so for all of these reasons, it’s a good idea to do as much as you can to make your workplace as ergonomically sound as possible.
UNDERSTANDING WORKPLACE ERGONOMICS
It’s important to realize that proper ergonomics in the workplace is essential across all types of jobs and industries. Whether your employees spend most of their time sitting at a computer or operating heavy machinery, they will be performing repetitive movements, and these can cause great stress if not executed properly.
For that reason, the best place to start when evaluating your workplace for ergonomic issues is at your workstations. To help your employees avoid injury, these should be at the proper height, and be equipped with up to date equipment that’s in good repair. If these workstations include computers, the monitors need to be easily viewable to the employee with their head in a neutral position.
Additionally, all frequently-used items need to be within easy reach, and tools need to function properly to help employees avoid straining or having to assume awkward positions when using them. The height of the workstation surface should ideally be adjustable to accommodate workers of various heights, and depending on the type of work performed, it may need to tilt to make tasks easier to perform without reaching or straining.
Of course, there is only so much you can accomplish by installing ergonomically designed equipment. That’s because the people using the equipment need to know how to use it properly and to understand the importance of doing so. Thorough and ongoing training is key to helping employees perform their jobs safely and efficiently. This means instruction in:
- Proper handling of equipment
- How to set up an ergonomic workstation
- How to find and adjust the right chair
- How to identify problems with equipment and request replacements
- Proper lifting
- Exercise and stretching regimens to reduce fatigue and improve mobility
Improving ergonomics in your workplace isn’t a task you can check off your list and then forget about. It’s an ongoing process of identifying problem areas and finding the best way to address them, while simultaneously ensuring that all equipment is in good working order. The benefits you’ll receive from these efforts are well worth the cost and time you’ll put in, though, and this will be evident in the long-term profitability and viability of your company as well.