Amidst other factors, the well-being of workers in an institution, organization, or business venture, is important for its sustenance and growth. The design – or redesign of the work environment is paramount to improve not just the efficiency in the workplace, but also comfort, user safety, and usability of employees.
Working in a non-ergonomic environment can be bad for your health. The stress caused by a non-ergonomic work environment has direct impacts on muscles and tendons, your immune system, and even your mental health. The work environment functions better when the physical, mental and emotional beings are in better alignment. Ergonomics, as a technological tool, keeps these factors in check to create a healthier and more comfortable work environment.
According to the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.
Ergonomics in a simpler form is the art of making a working environment more comfortable and practical for the people who have to use the space. These considerations can help to reduce stress and lower the rate of injuries on the job.
It is safe to say that the way you stand or sit, the accessibility of equipment and machinery, the arrangement of function keys and controls, motility, and sometimes the anesthetic designs all play important roles in one’s efficiency and well-being in and outside the work environment.
Most injuries that may arise from inadequate working conditions include muscle strain, neck pain, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, impaired lung function and poor circulation due to bad posture, and repetitive motion sickness associated with various task-oriented duties.
The health risk associated with these injuries can lead to more serious health issues in the long run. For instance, according to the OSHA estimates, over 1000 eye injuries occur every day in the United States, from eye strain to severe trauma, that may cause permanent damage to the eyes or vision loss.
According to the Barnes Firm, an accident injury lawyer in NYC, this, and many more injuries that may be sustained from the workplace can reduce the employee’s productivity at work, and alter their lifestyles. Ergonomics is, therefore, an important consideration to avoid ugly incidences, and in the event of one.
A work environment with the proper Ergonomics practices will enjoy the benefits of workers’ increased productivity and work quality, comfort, workers’ right attitude, and mindset; reduced health risks due to injuries, a happy and positivity-filled working environment, and improved physical and mental wellbeing.
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WAYS TO IMPROVE WORKPLACE ERGONOMICS
A good ergonomics practice is an ever-improving and proactive one. Routine assessment and adjustments can help identify and reduce the risk factors. Improving the work environment ergonomically is a responsibility of both the Employer and the Employee.
The provision of Ergonomic furniture, equipment, and proper arrangements will improve workplace ergonomics. Little efforts from the employee to adhere to ergonomic practices will go a long way in reducing the risk of injuries at work. Below, we will discuss some tips on improving workplace ergonomics by the employer and also the employee.
Invest in good furniture
Investing in good furniture should be the first step in adopting better workplace ergonomics. Furniture, especially chairs, required in the workplace should meet the ergonomic standards. The provision of chairs with lumbar support armrests, footrests, will enable individuals to feel relaxed and comfortable while working. Tables with adjustable height settings will reduce strain on muscles and joints.
Provide proper lightin
A proper lighting system is essential for workers’ performance and productivity. There should be the provision of adequate lighting, be it from a natural or artificial source. Inadequate lighting can cause eye fatigue, headaches, and poses a big risk of incurring injuries and accidents.
Always check that all lights are working properly and bad lights should be changed. Lamps can be provided for workers who work on desks.
Introduce an efficient layout
There is a constant interaction between the workers and the work environment, and as such the layout of the work environment needs to be well planned to ease accessibility. Items that are used regularly should be placed in a place where they are can be easily accessed to minimize strain.
An arranged layout will prevent the work environment from being cramped up.
The success of workplace ergonomics programs will be a lot easier when employees are trained and educated on proper ergonomics practices.
Training employees will help them identify hazards that may result in injuries and accidents. It can also act as a proactive measure to accident prevention.
Employees can achieve proper ergonomic practice by adopting the following –
- Take breaks
- Stretch often
- Adopt a proper posture
- Look after your eyes
- Use a footstool for support
- Adjust armrests
- Stay hydrated, and do not skip lunch
Creating an ergonomic environment is advantageous to everyone. It gives value to the health and wellbeing of workers while improving productivity and business success.