When discussing potential hazards in the workplace, there is one thing that often gets left out: ergonomics. Beyond exposure to chemicals and falls from heights, injuries brought about by poor ergonomics are also something detrimental to your workforce. Left uncontrolled, ergonomics-related issues can spiral and cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This proves the necessity of ergonomics, not just as a point of discussion but as something that offices should factor in in designing workplaces.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve office ergonomics, some of which are pretty simple. Experts in commercial fit-outs in Australia share some of them:
Ensure Proper Working Posture
The first and most important aspect of workplace ergonomics is all about having a good posture while working. It does not matter if the employee is in a corporate office setting or on the factory floor, as long as they can stand and sit with a relaxed posture. The body position should be neutral, and employees should not need to position themselves in stressful angles to get their tasks done.
For office workers, the ideal posture while sitting sees their hands, forearms, and wrists straight and parallel to the floor. It is also essential to keep the head level and forward-facing, neither veering to the right nor the left. The head must also be aligned with the torso. For those with standing tables, the same rule applies to hands, wrists, and forearms.
Reduce Repetitive Movement
Generally, MSDs happen because of repetitive motion and movement. Regardless of whether or not a person follows the principles of ergonomics, doing the same movement repeatedly will wear down certain parts of the body, cause fatigue and stress, and lead to an injury. With that said, individuals must change their tasks and routines every so often. Let employees do something else once in a while so that they are performing a different type of movement, effectively reducing the risk of stress-related tissue injury.
Understandably, there are situations where changing tasks is not an option. In this scenario, workers need to change their neutral positioning every so often. For instance, sitting employees can move to a standing table or recline their chair for a while. Minor angular changes go a long way in shifting the stress and weight to different muscles and parts of the body.
Use the Right Equipment
Sometimes, it is not the person that causes the injury, but the equipment that they use. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that all desks, chairs, and other office items used regularly are ergonomic. Environmental factors also come into play here, such as proper temperature. A study has found that the ideal workplace temperature is at 21 C, while lighting should be at 1000 lux.
Ultimately, you should remember that workplace ergonomics is not merely about making sure employees are relaxed; it is also about keeping them healthy and productive. A safe and healthy workplace is a productive one, so be sure to follow the principles of ergonomics for your office space.