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The Importance of Ergonomics in the Workplace – Part 2

We continue our research into the importance of ergonomics to the safety of a workplace to see how it can improve productivity by adding safety aspects. When one looks at the science of ergonomics it is above all about productivity, and how the comfort and safety of a task or product can add value to the overall picture.

Ergonomics is also about understanding, understanding a task and how to make that task safer and more comfortable. It often requires thinking out of the box, for instance fifty years ago a typist in a pool would never be considered as operating in an injury risk environment.

However, if a typist is able to produce forty words per minute, then a key is pressed twelve thousand times each and every day. The amount of force necessary to press a key is estimated at eight ounces. This all adds up to the typists using sixteen tons of force with their fingers every day.

Prevention is the Key

As with a lot of disorders, prevention is the key. And they way to prevent the hazards in the workplace is to understand each and every task. Then with this understanding put in place measures to prevent injury from occurring.

The best way to do this is to employ a holistic approach, and to understand fully the loads and strains on the body that a task involves. There is never one single factor that causes MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorders), for instance physically lifting a load is not the only factor for contributing to back pain. Other factors will contribute also such as posture, force, position, the temperature of the area etc.

If safety officials risk assess an area on a safety slant, why do they not also undertake an ergonomic analysis at the same time? It is highly important to first understand the risks of MSD so that you can eliminate them from the workplace.

Financial Benefits

Yes, safety and ergonomic measures do require investment, but a study has shown that the benefits of having good safety and ergonomic measures benefit a company financially by a factor of nearly three. This means whatever your investment cost, the company will benefit threefold,

This was brought to light by JISHA (Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association) in a study about the real cost of safety investment. The study also came to the conclusion that a strong culture of safety within an organization boosts productivity, and helps with the morale in the workforce, which in turn leads to better retention of employees.

The implementation of a strong ergonomics integration alongside safety measures helps to eradicate work related injuries and vastly improved the productivity of a company. Side by side safety and ergonomics work together to make a safer and happier work environment.

Not only do ergonomics in the workplace reduce injuries, it vastly helps productivity as tasks get performed more efficiently and therefore are more cost effectively. Less days off from work related injuries are taken, and the work environment makes for a much happier workforce.