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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 . This in turns allows maximum productivity and efficiency. In order to effectively adjust a work station, it is important to have a good understanding of the individual worker. You should also know their work tasks. The full range of musculoskeletal injury risks should be assessed and addressed comprehensively. In order to eliminate injury risks, you should change your work station. This is important while still considering work tasks and activities.
You should consider physical and environmental aspects when you look at workplace ergonomics. 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. You achieve reducing musculoskeletal injuries by reducing physical demands of the job. Decrease force required, repetition, awkward postures and/or vibration.
Good ergonomics also helps improve productivity at work. By creating a work station that allows for good posture, decreased exertion, fewer repetitive movements, 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 increase when they can see their employer is doing all they can to create a safe and comfortable working environment. Reduced fatigue and discomfort throughout the working day means staff turnover is less, there is decreased absenteeism and improved employee morale and participation.
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.