What is Ergonomics in the Workplace?
Ergonomics in the workplace refers to the way in which we interact with our surrounding environment including how we complete work tasks. Simply put, ergonomics in the workplace is the interaction of a worker and their equipment and job. The focus of ergonomics in the workplace is to find the ‘best fit’ between the worker and their work tasks and environment.
Many people think that ergonomics in the workplace refers to the setup of the workstation however it incorporates other facets of your work tasks as well. For example, vehicle ergonomics for those people who travel for work; a machinery operator would need to consider how they operate their machine; other workplace ergonomics may include appropriate ways to use various equipment and tools and complete manual tasks. Ergonomics in the workplace may also consider the cognitive and environmental demands of the job and not just the physical demands.
Principles of ergonomics in the workplace include the following:
- Identifying correct postures for tasks (keeping in mind the lower back, neck, shoulder, wrists, hips and feet). This includes trying to maintain neutral postures of joints where possible.
- Eliminating strenuous tasks where possible including heavy lifting, forceful movements, twisting (e.g. using machinery where possible)
- Taking rest breaks from repetitive tasks
- Identifying risks within the workplace (including educating staff to independently identify risks and avoid these postures)
What are the benefits of implementing good ergonomics in the workplace?
A well-designed workplace can result in better outcomes for your workers and puts less strain on their health and safety. Whilst a poor design can result in injury to workers and be less work efficient. Some benefits include:
- Can reduce the cost of work-related injuries
- Can increase productivity
- Can reduce time spent off work
- Your employees know that you have their best interest in mind
- Allowing employees to be able to independently identify risks and implement appropriate strategies and techniques
How to review and improve ergonomics in your workplace?
Advantage Injury Management Services are able to assist you to review and improve ergonomics in the workplace with the following services:
- Completing risk assessments to identify the tasks that put your workers at risk of injury and providing recommendations on how to manage these risks.
- Providing training to staff which is specific to their work tasks.
- Completing tailored ergonomic assessments and workplace assessments.
- Providing workplace stretching programs which can help to minimise and prevent muscle injuries and strains specific to your work tasks (whether it’s office-based roles, transport industry, aged care roles etc).