ergonomics program

Stages of an Ergonomics Program, Part 3 – Where is Yours?

Let’s look at a firm that:

  1. Is Beginning to Understand– Works with their Workers’ Compensation insurance company to provide some support with basic interventions to the worst situations. Likely still behind in providing meaningful support in identifying issues and equipment changes.  Will consider some furniture modification including adjusting desk heights or providing a different chair with a Doctors note.

Why is this an issue? First the employee has a problem and the company does not either believe it or does not want to deal with it so they are throwing hurdle in front of the employee.  What does this do to employee morale?  Other employees are watching very closely to see what happens to their coworker and how they are treated.

Many companies believe that if they begin to provide any new or different tools or furniture or change them that all the other employee will want something just to get something new.

I have investigated thousands of these issues.  The reality is that if the company would take steps to fully understand what is going on in this arena with their employees they would find that around 60% of them DO IN FACT NEED SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

Why is this? Why do so many problems exist with employees, their tools and their furniture! The answer lies in the diversity of people.  Specifically, their anthropometrics (Fancy word for different sizes of parts of the body).

Pick out two people of the same gender who are about the same height.  They can be the same of different weights.  When you compare various parts of their bodies there will be significant differences.  For instance, consider thigh lengths, lower leg lengths and torso lengths.  You will likely notice significant differences.

These measurements are primary for determining the proper chair sizing and ranges of adjustment. They also are necessary for establishing the proper height of their desk and monitors.  As you see the differences in more people, you will understand that very few of them will match up in these few dimensions.

Now add in the measurements for upper arm, lower arm and hand size.  The chances for people to have the same measurements is getting even smaller here.  And not throw in girth, weight and height.  There is almost no way that they will all match up. People are very much individuals in all aspects.  You now have a feel for the impossibility of trying to fit everyone in the same exact chair, desk height etc.!

2018-07-09T14:02:33-07:00Ergonomic Benefits|

Stages of an Ergonomics Program, Part 1 – Where is Yours?

Ergonomics must be an integral part of your company. Specifically, it must be a big part of your designed Employee Experience. Sixty percent of all your computer users are in significant discomfort due to poor ergonomics.  That statistic is robbing your company of productivity in the forms of presenteeism, missed time, poor morale, mistakes and injuries.  Injuries also hit your health care costs as many employees visit MDs, Therapists, Chiropractors and alternate medicine providers.  They are seeking relief from pain, tingling and numbness.  Many even require surgery due to a lack of coordinated and focused ergonomics program. The good news is that the vast majority of these issues can be prevented with an engineered ergonomics program.

“The good news is that the vast majority of these issues can be prevented with an engineered ergonomics program.”

Peter Drucker famously said that you cannot manage something if you do not first measure.   How do you know the extent of the issues in your organization?  You must get good data on the depth and breadth of the issues your employees are facing. Only then can you understand the issues and formulate a plan of correction.

Stages of A Company Ergonomics Program

  1. Has no idea– These organizations typically have heard of ergonomics but think that it is a fad or a flash in the pan with nothing of substance behind it.  Some feel that ergonomists really do not know much and are only trying to sell them new desks and equipment.

The reality is that top ergonomists have advanced degrees like Masters of Science or PhDs.   They are engineers, Physical or Occupational Therapists. Many of these professionals have also attained advanced and accredited certifications like the Certified Professional Ergonomist, Certified Human Factors Professional, Certified User Experience Professional, Certified Safety Professional, Certified Industrial Hygienist or Certified Industrial Ergonomist.  These certifications require college degrees, years of experience and two rigorous tests.

There are also many ergonomics certificate holders that typically attend a couple of days of instruction then receive a certificate for attending.

The field of ergonomics is science based and really took off during WWII with the design of aircraft cockpits. Before this there were many accidents and deaths caused by poorly designed control systems.  Studies of the accidents made it clear that the cockpits needed to be designed to not only be easy to understand and make sense but to also fit different body types and sizes to prevent awkward movements, prevent injuries and accidents.  These are the same basic concepts used in the modern field of ergonomics.


Check Back For The Next Part In This 5 Part Series!

2018-07-09T13:57:43-07:00Ergonomic Benefits|