Ergonomics is a term that many people will have heard but its definition might be slightly lost. In short, ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people and their workplace. It is a study that is important for understanding workplace health, safety and productivity. Ergonomic workplaces are designed to fit tasks and tools around the people who use them, rather than the other way around.
By understanding a little about ergonomics and how to create a more ergonomic environment can result in significant business benefits.
It may seem strange to consider that how your workplace is configured and designed will have an impact on the cost of the business, but it does. Ergonomically designed workplaces are less stressful environments and the risk of injury to staff is also lower. In 2013/14 11.4 million work days were lost to stress related problems and a further 8.3 million days were lost to musculoskeletal disorders. An ergonomic workplace can reduce this cost and save you from the additional indirect costs of workplace injury
When your staff are tired and frustrated, they don’t do their best work. When things are inefficiently designed, you make the jobs you ask your staff to do more difficult and a lot slower. By considering ergonomics in your workplace layout and having things within reach and requiring fewer steps or motions to reach, you increase efficiency and that will improve your bottom line.
If you have been reading the articles that Steve Chicken has been writing on how Lean can deliver business efficiency and quality, then you will understand how a more efficient workplace delivers fewer errors and a better quality product for you customers. Poor ergonomics make it harder for your staff to produce your products and that inevitably means that quality suffers.
If you can show your staff that you are working hard at making their workplace more ergonomic, you can increase their overall engagement. If you are proactive in this area and work with your staff to understand their roles, reduce the levels of inefficiency and health and safety risks, your staff will notice. They will be more willing to talk to you about ergonomics and you can make improvements together.
Improved health and safety
It is often said that developing a safe and healthy workplace requires a health and safety culture. Ergonomics plays a part in this. Ergonomics in the workplace reduce the risk of staff injury, improve the way in which tasks are completed and demonstrate a commitment to a health and safety culture. Your people are your greatest asset and through ergonomics, you allow them to work better.
Bringing about a cultural change like this requires time, planning and understanding. At EEF, our consultants and Health and Safety experts have amassed years of practical knowledge and experience in creating safer workplaces. Our Ergonomics in the Workplace training course
has been designed to teach you all that you will need to know about creating a more ergonomic working environment and getting the most from your staff.