I decided to look it up. Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. Clear, right? If you are a scientist!
In layman’s terms, ergonomics is filling a job to a person, rather than the other way around. So, applying the science and engineering principles of the work environment to fit the needs of the employees, rather than force the employees to adapt to the workplace.
From a safety perspective, why do we do this?
- It facilitates fewer injuries and cumulative trauma disorders
- It improves productivity of the workers
- Provides for better performance and quality
Ergonomics is not an overnight process. It is a continuous improvement process that minimizes or eliminates the workplace risk factors, such as repetitive motion, awkward posture positions, and undue pressure on soft tissues. All of these can lead to life long issues with the body.
How Do You Reduce Workplace Risk Factors?
Planning: Know what you will need when you will need it. If you know a job will require bending and reaching, plan ahead and have materials delivered closer to where they will be used. Ensure floors and walkways are clean and dry, and store materials at waist height.
Changing: If you know something is not working, change it. Reduce repetition or duration whenever possible. Make sure to change up the routine. Understand what is adjustable at the job site. If it was set for another worker, don’t leave it, but make sure it is correct for your needs.
Training: By knowing and practicing the right way to do tasks that minimize stress on the body, the chance of injury drastically reduces. Make sure your training is up to date on the proper techniques for working that conforms to your natural bodily impulses.
What ergonomic changes could be made in your workplace to minimize your risk?