Ergonomics is the study of work. How your employees are completing their tasks may be causing unnecessary stress on their bodies, resulting in added work comp risk to your organization.
In this video, our resident safety expert Chad Tisonik discusses the basics of what ergonomics entails and how it affects your company. The transcript of the video is entered below as well for those who prefer to read his tips on the subject!
Video: Ergonomics 101
What is ergonomics?
Ergonomic issues go back to the beginning of time, all the way back to when people began to work. The term ergonomics – ergo meaning “work” and nomics meaning “the study of” – is the study of work. It’s how the human body adapts to and operates in a work environment.
What happens is when we age (and all of us, from the we’re born, we’re aging, I hate to say it) we have issues relative to repetitive motion, and traumas and stresses.
What ergonomics does is it takes a look at how we relate to our work station. Some people that sit in the same fixed position all day may have a lot of problems if their work station isn’t adjusted properly. Someone on an assembly line if they’re doing the exact same task for 8 hours may have a problem ergonomically because their work station possibly hasn’t been thought out.
Usually what happens is an employer starts thinking about their work space and how it’s set up after an employee starts to make complaints and having issues with their body hurting them. The best thing to do it is to identify these issues in advance when setting up your work station.
When you’re thinking about the process or procedure and what you’d do in your department, you would ideally have an ergonomic review of how everything is set up and get it done right before you even start having people working there.
How do ergonomic risk factors (or injuries) affect your company?
Ergonomic risk factors affect your company in a couple of different ways. One is job satisfaction – if somebody is having pain on a daily basis in their work station or work space, they’re less likely to be productive. They could be under a lot of physical stress and may have some health issues that would surface possibly at home or over a period of time. Things like eye strain or headaches, or just general malaise and muscle aches are examples of these things.
An employer addressing ergonomic issues can improve productivity. Ergonomics-related injuries and claims are the largest type of claim that any organization faces. And these claims cost a lot of money – a injury to a shoulder might range $50,000 $100,000 dollars. These types of claims on a repetitive basis can cause an organization to not be insurable.