Did you know that the average person spends more than nine hours a day sitting down? That’s a lot of time spent in one position. And, if you’re not ergonomically correct, you could be putting your health at risk. You might not think about it every day, but ergonomics plays a very important part in our everyday lives—particularly in the workplace. But unfortunately, without proper knowledge of ergonomics safety, we can increase our risks of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
This article will discuss ergonomics and the importance of ergonomics safety. We will also provide you with a guide to ergonomic safety so that you can protect yourself while working or playing!
What is Ergonomics?
According to the Ergonomics Association, ergonomics is the scientific discipline that involves understanding interactions among humans and other elements of a system. The profession applies design principles, theory, data, and methods to optimize human wellbeing and overall system performance.
In simple terms, ergonomics is the study of how people interact with their environment the proper way. This includes everything from office furniture to the way we drive our cars. By making simple ergonomic changes in our lives, we can help to prevent injuries and improve our overall health.
How Does Ergonomics Relate to Safety?
When you apply the principles of ergonomics to workplace safety, you get what is known as ‘ergonomics safety.’ Ergonomics safety ensures that the methods, environment, and products used appropriately fit the worker’s capabilities and job requirements.
Ergonomics and safety go hand-in-hand. By understanding ergonomics, we can learn how to perform tasks to avoid injuries properly. For example, if you sit at a desk all day long, it’s important to have an ergonomic set up so that you don’t strain your back or neck. The same goes for lifting heavy objects—you want to use proper form so that you don’t hurt yourself.
The Importance of Ergonomics to Workplace Safety
Did you know that ergonomic disorders are the fastest-growing category of work-related injuries in the United States? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, ergonomic injuries account for more than one million lost work days each year, costing employers billions of dollars in compensation claims.
These injuries are often the result of repetitive motion, awkward postures, and force. They can affect any part of the body, but the most common ergonomic injuries are the neck, shoulders, and back.
The good news is that ergonomic injuries are preventable. By making ergonomic improvements in the workplace, you can help to reduce the number and severity of these injuries. And when ergonomic safety is practiced, it can also lead to improved productivity and morale in the workplace.
Benefits of Ergonomics Safety
Implementing ergonomics safety as part of your company’s workplace safety program will match employee physical limitations and capabilities with the right tools and working spaces to ensure optimum comfort and safe working conditions. The advantages of ergonomics safety affect employees and can also make a huge difference in the overall efficiency and performance of the company.
With that said, here are some of the notable benefits that ergonomic safety can bring to the workplace:
By systematically reducing ergonomic risk factors, businesses can avoid the high costs of ergonomic injuries. These costs include workers’ compensation claims, medical expenses, legal fees, and lost productivity.
When employees are comfortable and have the right tools to do their job, they will be more productive. Ergonomics safety can help to improve employee morale and motivation in the workplace.
Reduced Injuries and Incidents in the Workplace
As mentioned earlier, ergonomics safety can help to reduce the number and severity of ergonomic injuries in the workplace. By making ergonomic improvements, you can create a safer work environment for your employees.
Fosters Better Employee Satisfaction and Engaugement
Employees notice when the company they work for cares about their safety and wellbeing. When ergonomic safety is practiced in the workplace, it shows that you value your employees and are committed to providing a safe and comfortable work environment. This can lead to improved employee satisfaction and engaugement.
The 10 Principles of Ergonomics
To help reduce injuries and improve overall productivity within the workplace, make sure you follow the ten ergonomic principles:
Joints must be in a neutral position.
When in a neutral position, the joints (which span the muscles and ligaments) are stretched the least. This helps to reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Keep Work Close to the Body
If the work is too far away, it can cause the employee to reach and strain. If the work is too close, it can cause the employee to hunch over. Either way, this can lead to ergonomic injuries.
Avoid Awkward Postures
When the body is in an awkward position, like leaning to the side, it can put unnecessary strain on the muscles and joints, which results in injuries like tendinitis and bursitis.
Avoid Bending Forward
Bending the trunk of the upper body forward will strain the ligaments of the back in an effort to maintain balance. This posture will eventually lead to ergonomic injuries such as herniated discs and muscle strains.
Avoid Bending the Wrist Backward
Bending the wrist backward puts unnecessary strain on the tendons and muscles of the forearm and wrist, which can lead to ergonomic injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.
Avoid Twisting the Trunk
When the trunk is twisted, it can cause ergonomic injuries to the back muscles, ligaments, and discs.
Alternate Posture and Movement
Avoid maintaining the same posture for long periods. Prolonged postures due to repetitive movements can result in fatigue and strains.
Use the Large Muscles
When possible, use the body’s large muscles to perform the task. This will help avoid ergonomic injuries like repetitive strain injuries (RSIs).
Avoid Carrying Out Above-Shoulder-Level Tasks
The elbow and hands should be well below shoulder level when carrying out a task. If the task is above shoulder level, it can cause injuries like rotator cuff tendinitis and bursitis.
Use Appropriate Tools and Equipment
The use of ergonomically designed tools and equipment can help to reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries. When selecting tools and equipment, make sure to consider the following:
- The size of the tool or equipment
- The weight of the tool or equipment
- The shape of the tool or equipment
- The ergonomic features of the tool or equipment
By following these ten ergonomic principles, you can help reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries in the workplace. In addition, by implementing ergonomics safety in the workplace, you can create a safer and more productive work environment for your employees.
Implements Ergonomic Safety In Your Workplace with DataMyte
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strains, low back injuries, and tendinitis, are the most common ergonomic injuries that occur in the workplace. That’s why performing an ergonomic risk assessment is essential as it identifies possible causes of these injuries and will help create immediate plans to mitigate them.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software that provides inspection tools, visibility, and insights to help perform ergonomic safety assessments in your organization.
With our Digital Clipboard, you can record, assess, and resolve ergonomic issues found in your workplace. We also offer tools to help you create and send reports using any handheld device anytime, anywhere.
Results of your ergonomic assessment will be stored in the cloud, making it easier to access, review, and share data within your organization.
With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can ensure that ergonomic safety is being implemented in your workplace. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more about our inspection and assessment solutions.
Ergonomic safety is essential in the workplace to prevent ergonomic injuries from occurring. By following the contents in this guide, you can help to reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries in the workplace. In addition, implementing ergonomics safety in the workplace with DATAMYTE can help create a safer and more productive workplace. Visit our website to learn more!