Ergonomics in the Workplace

Friday, October 23, 2020

Back pain, neck pain, eye strain, and a host of other preventable illnesses and injuries can impact employee productivity and hurt your bottom line.

Article 5 Minutes
Ergonomics in the Workplace

As an HR professional, dealing with recurrent costs that reduce company profits can be a problem, especially when they’re unnecessary.

Although we don’t realize it, many of the health problems workers have come from their work equipment and setting. It’s estimated that ergonomic injuries account for 33% of all work-related injuries. They also cause employees to stay away from work longer than other types of injuries.

If you’re tired of excessive absenteeism and work-related injuries, and you’re looking for a solution to curb these issues, start at looking at the ergonomics of your workplace.

Advantages of ergonomics

Ergonomics is a way to improve the workplace and equipment, to ensure your employees are comfortable and don’t get injured using them. Ergonomics has many advantages, and many studies prove they’re great for saving costs and increasing productivity. Here are a few benefits to be gained from investing in ergonomics.

Reduced compensation claims

According to research, one out of three dollars in compensation claims is for musculoskeletal disorders. These are disorders that affect our joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, and cartilage.

Many of these disorders occur in the workplace due to working with the wrong equipment. You can solve such issues by using ergonomic solutions such as replacing regular chairs with ergonomic ones that are better for posture.

Keep in mind that when your employees have work-related injuries, you can expect them to take a few days off to see a doctor and recuperate. These days add up from one employee to the next and can cut down on productivity significantly. The resulting absenteeism may also cause problems in the HR department when it comes to rescheduling tasks.

By addressing the ergonomics of your workplace, you can significantly cut down on work-related injuries and, as a result, save money due to the reduction in absenteeism.

Increased efficiency

Do an ergonomic assessment of the environment your employees work in and fix any problems that cut down on efficiency.

This entails looking at the actions needed to work in every section and each worker’s physical composition, then adjusting the workspace appropriately. As a HR expert, installing ergonomic solutions after an assessment will cut down on wastage as you will find tailor-made solutions for every section.

For example, if a worker is tall, allocating them a desk that forces them to bend over uncomfortably for much of the day is detrimental. Buying work equipment they can comfortably work in will increase efficiency significantly and keep them from getting injured.

Increased productivity

When workers endure unsatisfactory environments that result in body aches and fatigue, expect poor results. For example, products may not be up to scratch, and services may be lackluster, reducing your customer satisfaction.

Investing in an ergonomic-friendly workspace that provide your workers with support ensures they give their best. Indeed, research shows that it can improve productivity by 25%.

Apart from that, you could also restructure their work schedules to minimize unnecessary repetitive tasks that contribute to needless overexertion and low morale. When employees call in sick too often due to working in unsafe conditions, it reflects in the way they engage with you, the clients, and each other. Focusing on ergonomics will ensure your employees work safely, which will make a difference to morale and engagement.

Is ergonomics too costly?

Investing in ergonomics may seem like an expensive venture, but it’s not. There are many low-cost solutions you can use to improve the workplace. For example:

  • Replace regular chairs with ergonomic ones that support good posture with lumbar support mesh backs and adjustable arms
  • Height-adjustable desks with footrests. They can be used by short or tall workers comfortably, keeping them from straining their backs or injuring their knees while working
  • Keyboard trays and mouse platforms will make it easy for employees to reach their keyboards and mouse and prevent shoulder and arm pain
  • Provide equipment such as mechanical hoists for lifting heavy items
  • Height-adjustable LED lights are energy-efficient and unlikely to cause eye strain. Employees can dim them when necessary and adjust the height to suit their workspace

Eliminate workplace hazards

If investing in ergonomic solutions isn’t possible, use risk reduction instead to improve the safety of your workplace. Here’s how:

  • Remove dangerous tools from workspaces and replace them with safer options. Make sure employees adhere to safety rules for using tools
  • Redesign work areas to make them more comfortable to work in. For example, make it easier for employees to move around easily and maintain a good posture as they work
  • Rotate workers from one workstation to another to ensure they don’t develop muscle disorders from sitting or standing in one position for too long
  • Avoid overworking staff to ensure they don’t suffer from fatigue, which increases the chances of injury
  • Install non-slip floors, and eliminate tripping hazards such as uneven flooring. Also, keep tools and equipment safely and within reach to avoid injuries when accessing them

Are you using ergonomic solutions in your workspace?

Investing in ergonomics and eliminating risks at the workspace will help you maintain a safe work area. New Jersey employment experts can also give you valuable advice on how to avoid situations that lead to unnecessary compensation claims.

However, to make it even more beneficial for your workers, invest in safety training so that your employees learn how to use equipment, and follow procedures that prevent work-related injuries.

Christopher G. Aiello

Mr. Aiello has a reputable 30+ year trajectory in law practice. Having been selected for multiple recognitions and awards, he practices in the Superior Court of New Jersey in both the trial court section and the appellate divisions, the Workers’ Compensation Court, and Municipal Courts.


Join the conversation...