Leaders in business are increasingly integrating ergonomics into all aspects of their operations, little wonder when you examine the benefits of an effective company ergonomics policy.
Recent studies reveal the impact an ergonomics policy could have on your business, including cost savings, increased productivity and enhanced product quality. It could also help to reduce compensation payouts and reduce health care costs too but what is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the art and science of design and arrangement of workplaces, and systems so that they are fit for purpose for the individuals who use them.
Most people will have heard of ergonomics and understandably think that it’s to do with seats and desks and of course it is, but as Rowan Atkinson could have said in Love Actually this is so much more than a chair…
Effectively, it is the design of anything that encompasses people; work leisure spaces, sporting arenas, as well as health and safety environments. It is a branch of science which involves human abilities as well as limitations and its application to improve human interaction with environments merchandise, and systems; everything from the best way to hold a mobile phone, to easing the strain on wrists from typing or the ability to angle a reading lamp or a laptop.
The aim is to improve the working environment, to minimise the risk of injury and as industry, services and technology changes, so too do the requirements to make sure that the things we utilise for either work, recuperation or play are crafted to our body’s requirements.
5 Proven Benefits of a Workplace Ergonomics Policy
- An ergonomics policy reduces expenditures. It does this through reducing risk factors such as sustained awkward postures and forceful exertions and by making minor changes you can prevent costly musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) as well as damages to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and discs; around £1 out of every £3 in compensation costs can be attributed to an MSD, with indirect injury outlay up to 20 times higher than direct costs.
- The policy also increases productivity. The best solutions – eye-level computers, ergonomic mouse and keyboards, correct posture etc – often increase productivity, by allowing good posture to develop, which subsequently requires less exertion, uses fewer motions increase height to reach, enabling greater workstation efficiency.
- A Poor or non-existent ergonomics policy leads to worker frustration, added stress and fatigued workers; workers that can’t perform at their optimum. When a task is physically overtaxing a member of staff, they won’t be able to do their job in the way you need them to, potentially creating product finishing issues for example.
- Enhanced staff engagement. Employees notice when an organisation is making their health and safety a priority, building trust and buying loyalty. If a member of staff is not worn-out or uncomfortable during their workday, ergonomics can help reduce staff turnover, reduce absenteeism, increase morale and staff involvement.
- Your organisation’s commitment to safety and health should be seen as a central value. Ergonomics creates a culture of safety awareness, reducing accidents in the workplace through heightened awareness. Healthy employees are a business’s most valuable asset, inculcating an H&S focused culture within your organisation leads to better performance.
Is Workplace Ergonomics Worth the Cost?
The only sensible answer is an emphatic Yes! Not only is an ergonomics policy good for business, it’s fantastic for your staff too. The best managers think through these options before making decisions:
- Is ergonomics the right thing to do for your people?
- Will it increase your revenue?
- Will it reduce your costs?