Ergonomics in Your Workplace

Analyzing ergonomics in the workplace is an imperative practice for every type of business. The longer the issue is ignored, the more detrimental the injury will become. We can identify issues before they cause lost productivity.

Ergonomics considers the relationship between the worker, the actions or tasks inherent to that activity (job, school, play), and the environment in which the work is performed. When there is a mismatch between the physical requirements of the job and the physical capacity of the worker, musculoskeletal disorders may result.

Ergonomics is the practice of designing equipment and work tasks to conform to the capacity of the worker. It provides a means of adjusting the work environment and work practices to prevent injuries before they occur.

Our goal is to help you provide a safe and efficiently designed environment that maximizes productivity and minimizes injury potential.

If you have workers on temporary disability due to repetitive stress injuries or poor ergonomic environment, we can put them on the path for an early Return To Work.

Contact us now for a free consultation.

Assessments: Stop working in Pain!

Proof:Positive will analyze your operation and assist you in making the necessary changes to correct the identified problems. Certified Ergonomic Specialists evaluate your work environment and perform the following:

  • Suggest options for solving ergonomic safety issues
  • Assist in establishing or improving work-site injury and illness prevention programs
  • Help employers identify hazards in the workplace
  • Work with employers to identify and develop health and training for employees
  • Provide employers with written reports to summarize findings

Whether computer terminal, assembly line, construction site, retail stores or someplace else, your employees do not have to work in pain.

Engineering and Design: Optimize Your Resources; Your Results!

In order for your products to be produced and your employees to work at optimal efficiency, there has to be a good relationship between:

  • Design and layout
  • Tools and equipment
  • Motions performed biomechanically
  • The entire flow process throughout an operation

Environmental: The Impact of Your Surroundings

Environmental factors can often be accommodated to a client’s temporary or long-term limitations. The ergonomic assessment may help remediation or prevention of further injury.

Proof:Positive ergonomic engineers are available to act as your representative to develop a scope of work, contract documentation, obtain bids and act as project manager to see all work is satisfactory to our specifications.

Training and Development: Custom design your Ergonomic Training!

Custom design training material and presentations from Proof:Positive’s array of subject matters that will be most useful to your employees.

Work and Consumer Products: Apply Ergonomics to enhance Performance and Profitability!

Proof:Positive will make available any and all tools needed, per our recommendations and findings.

Contact us today for a custom proposal and quote.

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More Information about Ergonomics

The Origin of Ergonomics

Historically, ergonomics was another word for Human Factors. Today, Ergonomics commonly refers to designing work environments for maximizing safety and efficiency. Biometrics and Anthropometrics play a key role in this use of the word Ergonomics. Engineering Psychology often has a specialty dealing with Workplace or Occupational Ergonomics.

Companies once thought that there was a bottom-line tradeoff between safety and efficiency. Now they embrace ergonomics because they have learned that designing a safe work environment can also result in greater efficiency and productivity. Recently, U.S. laws requiring a safe work environment have stimulated great interest in Workplace Ergonomics – from ergonomic furniture to ergonomic training; however, it is in the design of the workplace as a whole where the greatest impact can be seen for both safety and efficiency.

The easier it is to do a job, the more likely it is to see gains in productivity due to greater efficiency. Analogously, the safer it is to do a job, the more likely it is to see gains in productivity due to reduced time off for injury. Workplace Ergonomics can address both of these issues concurrently by maximizing the workspace and equipment needed to do a job.

The Ergonomic Dilemma

Employers are always faced with the tradeoff between efficiency and productivity vs. employee safety and comfort.  The good news is that they do not have to be a tradeoff. Rather, good ergonomic assessment and remedial design can also result in improved efficiency and productivity.

Employees’ time away from work due to injury reduces productivity, awkward equipment and procedures reduces efficiency, and violation of “compliance” requirements can certainly affect the bottom line. Creating an ergonomically effective workplace results in employee safety while increasing efficiency and productivity.

The “Application”

Proof:Positive Consulting can assist your company with ergonomic assessment, workplace design improvements, and staff training. We can make your workplace safe, efficient, and in compliance. Our Ergonomics Engineers apply a rigorous and systematic technique to ensure a hazard-free and worker-safe environment.

We use quantitative methods to evaluate the workplace and determine those areas that will most benefit from design and placement changes. Once the critical ergonomic hot spots have been identified and evaluated, we can re-design the problem areas to maximize the ergonomic impact. Finally, we can train your staff to self-monitor and regulate their ergonomic environment. The objective is to meet compliance requirements while increasing safety, efficiency, and productivity.

Our experience covers a wide range of workplace environments including the office, manufacturing floor, warehouse, and vehicles.

Evaluating Ergonomics Effectively:

If you want to save the office world from musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort, you have to know a lot more than ergonomics. You have to know how to get things done. The following thirteen (13) questions are what a lot of us may wish we had answered early in the game.

These questions are an excellent topic for safety managers, supervisors, and human resources departments. Divide ’em up, do the research (don’t just assume you know the answers), and discuss.

1. Who are the players?

Who currently pays attention to ergonomics? You probably are one of those people. Supervisors? The people who “do the work?” Facilities people?

The people or groups you identify here are potential ergonomics committee members and collaborators.

2. Who currently implements ergonomics?

This may be the facilities or design departments, an ergonomics committee, training departments, individual department managers, or others.  Sometimes, only the affected people (and perhaps their private-side insurers) make ergonomic changes.

The people or groups identified by this question should be in the audiences of presentations and training sessions.

3. Who has historically implemented things that result in bad ergonomics? Who has obstructed ergonomics?

These people are among those you should wish to influence.  They may be facilities people or people who “design” jobs, or someone else.

4. Who has to notice when there are ergonomic problems?

Usually, medical and human resources people know about more serious cases.  Supervisors and/or peers may be the ones who notice both “official cases” and cases of discomfort or complaint.  And, of course, the people who are experiencing problems notice … or do they?

These people may be able to assist you in estimating the extent and kind of ergonomic problems at your site.

5. Who has to pay for ergonomic health problems?

Most likely, this is anyone having to do with occupational health payments (medical expenditures, insurance premiums, and disability payments, for example, plus payments for any staff who do administration or treatment).

Ironically, the people identified by this question often have little to do with ergonomics itself.

6. Who might get upset about others doing or measuring ergonomic work?

Does anyone feel they “own” ergonomic activity and might want to protect their turf? Does anyone have ergonomics as a responsibility, yet are inactive and therefore sensitive about it?

The people or groups identified in this question need special attention and communication.

7. Who must approve or support ergonomics or ergonomics budgets?

Typically, this is one or more senior management role, usually in conjunction with a group or person doing organizational strategy and other big-picture activities.

These players need plenty of information, especially information about how their support pays off.

8. Why are “the players” doing ergonomics?

This question often has more than one answer.  Possibilities are:  An OSHA citation in the past; the possibility of being investigated or cited by OSHA or some other regulatory body; high worker’s compensation, insurance, turnover, absenteeism, or disability costs that are perceived as ergonomics-related; production or quality problems (errors, delays, etc) that are perceived as fatigue- or ergonomics-related; the belief that ergonomics affects recruitment and retention of certain employees; the belief that ergonomics influences customer perceptions of the company; the belief that being responsible for ergonomics enhances personal or departmental image or resources; because employee health, comfort, and satisfaction are valued.

The answers are your organizational hot buttons.  Be sure you know whether ergonomics affects the things on the answer list.  And accept the fact that it may not be possible to persuade people to value anything different.

9. How does communication happen among “the players” regarding ergonomics?

Do people concerned about ergonomics have a way to get regular information to anyone else? Possibilities include human resources reviews at board meetings, ergonomics or safety committee meetings, bulletin board postings, and employee newsletters.

The answers tell you whether you need to add new communication methods to your existing situation.

10. On a larger scale than ergonomics, what’s important to the company and key players?

How much does the company value, in all its decision areas: the bottom line, stockholder opinion, tradition, appearances, acting like an organizational family, employee recruitment or retention, employee performance, employee morale, spiritual values, etc.

On your first pass you may think your organization values them all. Work on understanding the hierarchy.

11. Are there any conflicts about values or recent shifts in values?

These conflicts are often the symptoms of new ways of making decisions conflicting with old ways. Try to keep up with evolution.

12. Are there any current sources of ergonomic-related data?

Consider: Who tracks health and health costs?  Does anyone measure productivity in any way?  Does anyone measure employee attitudes in any way?  Are there records of ergonomics training or workstation changes? Are any data collected repeatedly?  Are there any sources of comparisons for any of these kinds of data (for example, for others in the same industry, or other clients of the same insurer)?

Quantitative data regarding situations and results are extremely powerful tools, in terms of being effective (choosing to do the best actions) and getting resources (persuading others that you deserve support).  If there are existing data sources, you may be able to leverage them rather than start from scratch.

13. How are spending decisions made?

For example, some businesses rely on the experience and wisdom of key people, while others require detailed proposals containing certain kinds of data and analyses.

Learning the local way to influence decisions saves a lot of wasted energy.  Don’t expect decision makers to easily adapt to YOUR version of decision support.

Contact us now for a free consultation.