What can ergonomics do for your office? According to OSHA, “Ergonomics can be defined simply as the study of work. More specifically, ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.” For a worker whose body is forced to fit the job day after day and year after year, the resulting exertion, pain and repetitive motion are risk factors that can lead to musculoskeletal injuries in your workplace. Injuries and musculoskeletal disorders account for 34 percent of workdays lost as a result of injuries and illnesses, but good ergonomics can help minimize these injuries and reduce workers’ compensation costs.
In a recent article from the National Safety Council, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries listed several ergonomic related risk factors to watch out for.
- Awkward positions and postures. These may include sitting hunched forward or slouching, reaching overhead for objects, or bending over to load the copy machine.
- Repetition. Employers have become more aware of the dangers of repetitive motions, such as typing or clicking a computer mouse.
- Static loading or sustained exertions. Static loading consists of holding the muscles in one position for an extended time. Sustained exertions happen when force is applied for long periods of time. Both of these have become increasingly common in computerized offices.
- Mechanical contact stress. This happens when a hard surface or object presses on soft tissues. It may mean pressure from a chair on the back of the thighs, or pressure from a desk on wrists or arms when typing. When this pressure is applied to blood vessels, nerves or tendons, over time it can cause serious damage.
Simple changes in your workplace furniture and equipment can make a profound difference in the safety and output of employees. Workers are not all built the same. Rather than expecting an employee to adapt to the office furnishings, why not choose office products that adapt to them? Ergonomic office chairs can provide correct seat height and lumbar support. Adjustable tables and keyboard trays promote better function and comfort for employees.
Your business is unique. Beirman Furniture will assess your needs and provide you with a custom ergonomic assessment.