The importance of Ergonomic Assessments
Good ergonomic practices are vital to ensuring employees are safe and productive at work. Investing in ergonomics is a valuable business decision.
Employees adopting poor ergonomic work practices or being positioned at poorly designed workstations can play a significant role in the development of a number of preventable musculoskeletal disorders.
What are ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the study of people in their working environments. It involves changing the environment (equipment, rate of work and bodily movements) to fit the requirements of individual employees.
Ergonomics is concerned with changing the environment the worker is in rather than forcing them to adapt to environments that may not be suitable to their physical requirements and limitations. Determining and addressing these requirements is where ergonomic assessments are necessary.
Did you know?
Since the 1950s, interest in ergonomics has exponentially increased. This is most likely due to the increase in office work.
What is an ergonomic assessment?
An ergonomic assessment is an assessment of a worker at their workstation to ensure correct working postures and workstation set-up.
A good ergonomic assessment is done to reduce a worker’s exposure to physical hazards such as:
- Uncomfortable postures
- Repetitive tasks
- Straining of the body
Ergonomic Assessments should be completed by fully qualified Occupational Health Professionals. At the end of an assessment, a formal report is then provided to the worker/employer outlining all findings and recommendations.
Posture, movement and temperature are all factors to take into consideration in an ergonomic assessment.
What are the benefits of good ergonomics?
Injuries resulting from bad ergonomics are preventable. The benefits of good ergonomic practices range from reducing business costs, improving quality and creating a better safety culture at work.
Employees performing tasks under bodily stress can lead to ailments that can cost your business money. While the costs associated with ergonomics like special chairs and workstations can seem like a barrier at first, the long-term results are healthier and more productive employees, which are best for business. By utilising good ergonomic practices, you can reduce your company’s costs associated with lost work time in the short-term and workers’ compensation long-term.
When employees are in pain, they focus on those pains, not their work. Studies have shown that the greater the pain, the more productivity plummets. Properly set-up workstations create happier employees. A comfortable work station, allowing good posture and fewer motions can even increase work productivity.
Awkward working postures can be distracting and uncomfortable for workers. Poorly designed work stations can lead to frustration and employees who don’t do their best work. Having good ergonomic practices means workers are comfortable and productive, being able to deliver their best quality work.
Improve employee engagement
When you invest time ensuring your employees are healthy and safe, it will be noticed. When employees feel taken care of by their company, and are comfortable doing their job, this will increase morale and reduce staff turnover and absenteeism.
Create a better safety culture
Having healthy employees is your most valuable asset as a business. The accumulation of the four previous points will lead your workplace towards better performance from staff and help foster a robust safety culture.
What are the effects of bad ergonomics?
The consequences of bad ergonomic practices has both short and long-term health effects, including:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Repetitive injury strains
- Carpal tunnel
- Heart conditions
- Postural muscle aches and pains
- Musculoskeletal disorders
How can ergonomics prevent injury?
Ergonomic risk factors differ, depending on the type of work. For example, an office worker’s fingers, wrists and arms can be affected by bad placement of the mouse, keyboard and chair. Whereas, a factory worker will be vulnerable to back and neck injuries due to twisting at the waist and lifting heavy objects.
The symptoms that bad ergonomics cause can often be confused with other things. Or, they may be small and non-distinct at first that they go unnoticed. By providing employees tailored, comfortable and suitable work stations, you’re setting them up for more productive work.
What we offer
At Rehab Management, people are at the centre of our business. We help our clients achieve their best outcomes through innovation, dedication and best practice. We specialise in on-site training in manual handling and ergonomics, tailored to your business and your industry.
Our Workplace Ergonomic Assessment and Training services are designed to upskill all employees to actively improve their own working environments, ensuring a safe workplace and reducing the risk of injuries.
For 20 years Rehab Management has helped people like you around Australia to gain and maintain meaningful employment
The RM Academy provides a unique opportunity to be part of creating future success as an allied health professional working in the industry.
Manual handling includes tasks like lifting boxes, using hand tools, operating machinery, cleaning, painting and packaging.
To celebrate World Occupational Therapy Day 2019, some of our Occupational Therapists have shared what they love most about their jobs!