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The Importance of Ergonomics in the Workplace – Part 1

Safety in the workplace is no longer put down to just luck or if one employer cares about his staff than another. There are now strict safety laws that apply to every workplace that must be adhered to. And if your job is to ensure that the place you work follows all the rules and regulations it can be a daunting task.

That is where ergonomics can help, normally associated with comfort and ease of employees in the workplace, ergonomics can keep your workforce safer. It does not matter what industry or size of company, basic ergonomics that are applied properly can help with safety at work. Of course the added bonus to this is that by reducing any hazards, then your workforce will be happier and apply themselves to their jobs better. And there is the monetary factor of not having to pay out personal injury claims.

Ergonomics as a Value

Safety at work must not just be seen as a requirement, it is definitely a value and becomes part of a companies ethos and corporate fabric. Ergonomics must also be seen the same way, it too is a value and can be integrated also into the DNA of a company.

Applied Ergonomics

The relatively new science of Applied Ergonomics was only introduced in 1949 and was not something that was just made up. For it to work correctly it relies heavily on data and research from decades before from such areas as physiology, engineering, and psychology. It was America that first started to study the effects of ergonomics during WWII, when new systems were applied without giving a thought to the people that would be using them. A realization soon appeared that products and systems would have to be designed around the very people who would be using them, to ensure efficiency.

This breakthrough of the physical and mental requirements of the workforce resulted in the development of ergonomics. Ergonomics takes in many branches of science including, sociology, biology, anthropometry, psychology, and physiology.

Ergonomics and Safety

Both safety and ergonomics go hand in hand when it comes to the success of a task. They work simultaneously in helping each other out, and in fact enhancing each other. So productivity is improved because of safety not despite of it.

Back Pain

The amount of compensation that companies have to reimburse injured workers is on a grand scale, not least to say fines for non compliance of regulations. And the most common injuries in the workplace are that of the back. A report dating back ten years by the JMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) estimated that the United States spend just under $100 billion dollars a year treating, back and neck pain.

And many of these injuries occurred in the workplace due to ergonomic disorders, it is estimated that over half of all injuries in the United States are caused in the workplace. The cost for industry is colossal, not only in fines and claims but also in lost man hours and thus productivity. We continue our blog into the importance of ergonomics and safety in the workplace in part two.