Lots of office workers would have heard of Ergonomics, but what does it mean? It promotes muscle/joint health and helps prevents injuries, considering an individual’s current limitations (eg height, back pain and function, previous injuries etc). Ergonomics makes sure that the design of spaces and products suit the person using them and is suitable for that person’s requirements.
It is especially important in the workplace, where people are often in the same position for long periods of time. An ergonomically designed workspace will support a worker’s health and well-being and allow them to be more productive.
Sometimes, it may be overlooked in favour of return on investment or employee benefits. It may only be addressed once an employee complains or has been injured.
Poor workspaces affect employees AND organisations employing them. Injuries can lead to employees being absent from work which can cause financial loss to the organisation and less productivity. Paying more attention to ergonomics can enable the workers to be present at work, increase productivity and reduce compensation claims. Organisations are more successful when their employees are comfortable and healthy.
In 2012-2013, a study by Safe Work Australia reported that “…work-related injury and disease cost the Australian economy $61.8 billion, representing 4.1% of GDP.”1 These results should encourage organisations to provide ergonomic workplaces. These workspaces provide healthy and comfortable places for employees to work and are healthy for organisations as well.
Ergonomic workspaces allow employees to pay attention for longer periods of time, which increases their performance. They will also be happier which can reduce the rate of staff turnover. This also important for an organisation’s success.
Employee and employer education about Ergonomics is important for individuals and organisations. As good workplaces are so important, annual assessments and using checklists can be ways to continue addressing health and safety issues in the workplace.
Author: Cheyne Thompson
Cheyne graduated from Sydney College of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1984. She also has postgraduate qualifications in paediatric chiropractic care. Before joining Clayfield Chiropractic Clinic in 1993, Cheyne enjoyed seven years in a Sydney based practice. Cheyne has three children and 2 grandchildren.