Ergonomics assessments prevent injuries; ergo, you need ergonomics.
Ergo is a Latin word meaning "therefore". But when used as a prefix it means work (which was borrowed from the Greek word érgon) and combined with nomics (borrowing the Greek word nomos for laws) it means the "laws of work". So what is ergonomics and how does it prevent workplace injuries?
The simplest definition of ergonomics is that it's the study of people's efficiency in their working environment. Within that study, experts look at 5 ergonomic aspects in order to improve design or "fit" when it comes to how workers work — safety, comfort, ease of use, performance, and aesthetics.
Safety: This involves having tools, equipment, chairs, work stations, and even assembly lines that decrease the stress of the worker doing their job.
Comfort: It is vital that employees performing repetitive movements and lifting or moving objects do not have to continually overexert themselves. Temperatures cannot be in the extreme. They need proper support, which may include footwear, standing mats, lifting belts, gloves, and the like.
Ease of Use: Workers need to be able to perform those tasks without awkward movements that put stress on necks, backs, knees, and even their eyes. Maybe they can be seated to perform jobs. Tools and equipment can be placed within easy reach. Basically, this is introducing easier working methods for the worker.
Performance: Productivity can be improved if performance can be reviewed and enhanced by applying ergonomic design. This is an extension of ease-of-use by taking it to the next level. Unneeded movement is limited to boost productivity. By removing unnecessary standing, sitting, reaching, and lifting or needing to resupply work materials, you improve how quickly worker perform.
Aesthetics: The aspect is not really about beauty. Ergonomic aesthetics are about the worker's protective gear, tools, other equipment, and their workstation being easy to understand their use, function, operating procedures and warnings. If any of these are poorly designed or incorrectly labeled, it can lead to unnecessary fatigue, stress, and injury.
All of the aspects take into account the individual worker and not the workforce as a hole. Some workers have certain capabilities and limitations so everyone will require personalized assessments.
Taking all of these aspects into account — either before people begin to suffer from work-related injuries or after — will allow your employees to perform required tasks with more ease, comfort, and in safety as well at an improved pace or productivity level.
- You'll have workers dealing with less sprains, strains, aches and pains because they are more efficient, under less stress, and coping with less fatigue.
- You'll save the company money by having fewer employees leaving work to visit a clinic or doctor.
- You'll have fewer absences and lost work time because they aren't home healing up.
- You'll have a happier more satisfied workforce who will be able to work longer and be less likely to retire early.
- And, finally, you'll be able to attract more talent to your company.
But, you say, these 5 Aspects of Ergonomics sound like an awful lot of work!
It can be a lot of work. For a single Safety Manager. Or even a whole safety team.
Many companies make the mistake of bringing in a third party ergonomics company for a one-time jobsite analysis once injuries and problems get to be too bad. But the company changes over time, new employees come in, and new work methods are introduced and those old evals quickly become outdated.
The answer is an ongoing ergonomics assessment and correction platform that continually works with employees and their performance routines to keep everyone proactively healthy, safe, and comfortable. One that provides quarterly LMS content, ongoing wellness checks, injury triage, as well as mobility evaluations, nutrition advice, footwear recommendations, sleep advice, micro-break suggestions, and so much more.
The answer is Healthy Roster.
Talk to us today to find out how far ergonomics can take your company.