Happy employee = Productive workplace – What is Ergonomics and Why it is Important?
Ergonomics is a relatively new branch of science, but it relies on research carried out in many other older established scientific areas such as engineering, physiology and psychology. Over time it has become clear that when workplace systems and products are designed to consider human and environmental factors, it will result in a healthier and more productive workplace. South African companies are starting to establish programmes that will manage ergonomics in the workplace, ensuring comfortable working conditions for employees. This trend is supported by the introduction of Ergonomic Regulations (although still in draft), which focus on the management of physical and cognitive ergonomics in the workplace.
Why ergonomics is beneficial for both employer and employee
Studies have shown that a positive environment encourages employees to be more productive. Vancouver, for example, has implemented ergonomics as part of their labour regulations and has since reported a reduced number of cases of long-term illnesses, extended leave, and injuries. Ergonomic-related injuries are often found in workplaces not associated with workplace injuries, like the office environment. For example, if an employee can type 40 words per minute, he or she presses an average of 14,400 keys per 8-hour day. Approximately 40g (using a force of .04N)* of force is used to depress one key. Approximately 23 000kgs of force will be exercised by his or her fingers each day. More than 8 million people are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome each year and surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is the second most common type of musculoskeletal surgery, with these people taking a minimum of 2 weeks off work.
So Why Should We Implement Ergonomics in our Workplace?
We believe that some of the benefits of completing an ergonomic audit and integrating ergonomics into your workplace are:
Decreased costs and increased productivity – less time off work for injuries means more productive time with more efficient workplaces
Improved quality and more employee engagement – employees notice and appreciate when effort is made to improve their environment, if there is decreased discomfort this leads to increased productivity.
Most importantly, ergonomics shows your commitment to the health and wellness of your employees and healthy and happy employees are your most valuable assets.
For any queries regarding the above or assistance on compliance or labour audits or any other compliance needs please contact Oriole Consulting on 011 346 2422 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit our website www.oriole.co.za
* Key Strike Forces and Their Relation to High Level of Musculoskeletal Symptoms - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5128007/