The importance of an ergonomic workplace

Office workers are at a greater risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders. The medical costs associated with these conditions can be avoided if office managers work toward creating an ergonomic workplace.

The medical costs associated with these conditions can be avoided if office managers work toward creating an ergonomic workplace.

Office workers are at a greater risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders.

According to Prevention, sitting puts 40 percent more pressure on the back than standing, and many workers spend eight hours or more sitting at a desk. In addition to back pain, office workers are at a greater risk for developing carpal tunnel, tendonitis and other musculoskeletal disorders. The medical costs associated with these conditions can be avoided if office managers work toward creating an ergonomic workplace. Learn more below. 

What is ergonomics
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines ergonomics as the study of work and workers. It includes finding ways to tailor an employee’s daily job to fit them as opposed to asking the employee to fit the job. Drawing from many physical sciences, ergonomics is meant to help office managers adapt to certain tasks and tools related to the job.

What can ergonomics do for your company?
Perhaps one of the most enticing benefits of an ergonomic workplace is how it has the potential to save employers money in the long run. Ergonomics Plus reported that one-third of all the money spent on workers compensation costs is related to musculoskeletal disorders developed on the job. Ergonomic workplaces also improve productivity and the quality of work produced. After all, if employees are having to leave their uncomfortable chairs or step away from painful-to-use keyboards frequently during the day, there isn’t going to be much accomplished. Moreover, if they are focused on how much pain they are in, their work may suffer.

What changes can you make? 
Office managers should examine their workplaces and speak with their employees. If they find the environment could use some improvement, here are some suggestions to improve the office ergonomics:

  • Replace bad chairs – If workers have to spend the majority of their time at work in a chair, make sure they are designed to provide good back support and comfort.
  • Pay attention to positioning – Offer training courses that demonstrate the proper way to position oneself at a workstation. This should address things like correct posture and computer monitor height.
  • Upgrade keyboards and mice – Ergonomic keyboards and mice are designed to work more naturally with employees’ bone structure. They can prevent carpal tunnel and other damaging problems.
  • Add alternative options – Give employees the option to move around the office during the day. Standing desks or work areas with stability balls are great options for busy offices.

Ergonomics is something no employer can afford to ignore. It keeps employees healthier, makes for a more enjoyable workplace and can reduce medical costs. It is important for office leaders to determine what changes can be made to provide an ergonomic environment for employees.

MasteryTCN offers a selection of courses on ergonomics, see if you HR Training Service Provider partners with MasteryTCN, or contact us for a referral.

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