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Ergonomics applies information about human behaviour, abilities and limitations and other characteristics to the design of tools, machines, tasks, jobs and environments for productive, safe, comfortable and effective human use.” (McCormick and Saunders, 1993).
In terms of office ergonomics, the main aim is to design your work station so that it fits you providing a comfortable working environment which in turn allows maximum productivity and efficiency. In order to effectively adjust or set up a work station, it is important to have a good understanding of the individual worker. Also, their work tasks. You should asses and address a full range of musculoskeletal injury risks. To reduce or eliminate overuse injury risk, you should change the work station. While still considering work tasks and activities.
When looking at workplace ergonomics, all physical and environmental aspects of the job are considered. Physical aspects include looking at stresses work tasks place on joints, muscles, nerves and tendons. Environmental factors such as lighting, temperature and noise can effect hearing, vision and general comfort and health.
Research has shown that the most common work-related injury is lower back pain. By reducing ergonomic risk factors, you are reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries such as lower back pain. When you decrease force required, repetition, awkward postures and/or vibration demands of the job, you reduce risk factors.
Good ergonomics also helps improve productivity at work. By creating a work station that allows for good posture, decreased exertion, fewer repetitive movement, less reaching, the work station becomes overall more efficient.
Ergonomics also improves quality of work. If poor ergonomics are in place, this may lead to frustrated and fatigued workers. They do not work to the best of their ability, thus affecting the quality and volume of work done.
Overall employee satisfaction levels and engagement tends to increases. Satisfaction increases when they can see their employer is doing all they can to create a safe and comfortable environment. There is less staff turnover when you reduce fatigue and discomfort during the workday. Absenteeism is also decreased with an improved moral and participation of your employees.
If you suspect you have been experiencing pain in relation to poor ergonomics at work, contact us here. We can arrange for one of our physiotherapists to carry out an ergonomic assessment if required, along with a physiotherapy appointment to address your pain.