What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is about designing for people.
Defined as the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s needs, ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce discomfort.
A good ergonomic assessment involves not only looking at your employees’ seating arrangements, but also how often they stand, their posture, equipment (including computers, keyboards, and machinery) and working environment. Think about the angle of your computer monitor, or the height of your desk.
Think about whether your eyes are strained by the end of the day or if your wrists hurt from typing.
A sound understanding of ergonomics can prevent most workplace injuries by adjusting tools to the user, putting an emphasis on proper posture to reduce the impact of repetitive movements.
'Ergonomics is the scientific discipline which applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.'
- International Ergonomics Association
What are the benefits of good ergonomics?
Good ergonomics prevent injuries.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries reviewed 250 ergonomics case studies to reveal the impact of ergonomics on business goals like cost savings, productivity and product quality. The results were significant.
By looking after the health, safety and wellbeing of your employees, the research shows you can expect the following benefits:
- Reduced costs
- Improved productivity
- Improved quality of completed work
- Improved employee engagement
- A better workplace safety culture
Ergonomics reduces costs
Body stress results in discomfort and work-related injuries. Investment in good ergonomic practices can reduce your organisation’s costs associated with lost work time (both presenteeism and absenteeism) in the short-term and workers’ compensation in the long-term.
By systematically reducing ergonomic risk factors, you can prevent costly Musculoskeletal disorders, among many other positive outcomes.
Ergonomics improves productivity
When employees are in pain, they focus on those pains, rather than their work. Studies have shown that the greater the pain, the more productivity is hindered.
By designing a job to allow for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and better heights and reaches, the person becomes 25% more efficient as a result of a good work environment.
Ergonomics improves quality of completed work
Correct ergonomics can reduce errors by 67%.
Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t do their best work. When the job task is too physically taxing on the worker, they may not perform their job to the quality standards to they were trained.
Ergonomics improves employee engagement
When you invest time ensuring your employees are healthy and safe, employees feel taken care of.
If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover by 48%, and decrease absenteeism by 58%. This improves morale and increases employee engagement.
Create a better safety culture
Creating and fostering the safety & health culture at your company will lead to better human performance for your organization. Ergonomics shows your company’s commitment to safety and health as a core value.
The cumulative effect of the previous four benefits of ergonomics is a stronger safety culture for your company. Healthy employees are your most valuable asset.
What are the effects of poor ergonomics?
Poor ergonomics can increase risk of:
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including repetitive injury strains and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Neck and back pain and injuries
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Headaches, migraines and eye strain
- 'Trigger finger'
Businesses, job roles and working environments are diverse - to accommodate this diversity, we offer a comprehensive suite of services, allowing you to select the best assessment service for your business and employees.
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