Fit For Work Blog

Understanding Ergonomics in Your Work Environment

Published Feb 27, 2017 1:33:12 PM

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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:

  1. Decrease employee turnover
  2. Decrease direct and indirect medical costs
  3. Improve ADA compliance
  4. Improve productivity
  5. Improve quality of product
  6. Decrease human error
  7. Reduce absenteeism
  8. 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
  9. Decrease injuries
  10. Improve worker morale/company culture

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Topics: Ergonomics