Ergonomics or "ergo" is a word that many times has a negative connotation associated with it. When many think of "ergo," they think of $10,000 chairs/workstations, a computer mouse with a large ball on it, or a keyboard that is split into two pieces.
"Ergo" to some is viewed as a four-letter word and neglected within various work environments due to the following reasons:
- Ergo is often viewed as a "fuzzy" science since there are no federally recognized/established standards in the U.S. (in some countries there are standards).
- Ergo is viewed as a health & safety issue/concern, not an engineering issue/concern OR ergo is viewed as an engineering issue/concern, not a health & safety issue/concern.
- When that occurs, “ergo” leaves a void that neither group (engineering nor health & safety) fills.
- Ergo is often viewed as a psychology-related performance issue.
- Supervisors, managers, and executives may have a negative view of ergonomics from past experiences which brought underwhelming results.
Changing the View/Perception of Ergonomics
Ergonomics, when utilized correctly, is very beneficial to all aspects of businesses/organizations, as well as very cost-effective.
A proper ergonomics program will:
- Decrease employee turnover
- Decrease direct and indirect medical costs
- Improve ADA compliance
- Improve productivity
- Improve quality of product
- Decrease human error
- Reduce absenteeism
- Reduce presenteeism; i.e. workers are still at work, but in a sick/injured state that may lead to
a. Increased time (labor costs) to accomplish the same task
b. Increased potential for reduced quality/increased error rates (increased re-work)
c. Increased potential for injuring other workers due to lapses in productivity/judgment
- Decrease injuries
- Improve worker morale/company culture