Education is an essential element in an ergonomics program’s success. It is not enough to learn to adjust a chair or position a keyboard and mouse. People need to understand basic principles of anatomy, ergonomics and work habits so they can control their own environments.
Communication is opened up regarding ergonomic issues. Workers typically wait until pain is severe before reporting it. Often by then it is too late to resolve the discomfort quickly, but the stressors that caused or contributed to the discomfort can be eliminated to promote the road to recovery. An ergonomic culture in the office encourages people to speak up sooner concerning “at risk” activities. By responding quickly, pain and discomfort can be preventable.
Morale and loyalty is enhanced when an employee sees that their company is committed to their health and well-being.
There is always tremendous potential for improvement, and injury prevention, by working within the existing workspace. Beyond the important issues of keyboard, mouse, chair, monitor and other details, the placement of the phone, printer, binders and layout of the workspace have impact on general wear and tear that the employee experiences throughout the day.
Management may fear that an ergonomic program will cost thousands of dollars per person in furniture and accessories. Most employees already have ergonomic elements in their workstation, but until they are trained in how to adjust their chair, where to position keyboard/mouse and where to locate monitors, they are not utilizing the equipment properly and potentially causing a source of strain. Employees will usually see a meaningful difference after one workstation visit/audit with discomforts easing completely.
Experience reveals that greater than 80% of workstation discomfort can be resolved with minor equipment adjustments and posture/position instruction.
One workstation evaluation is less than the cost of initial office visit to medical specialist.
Estimated 90% of workstation evaluations eliminate a need to visit a health-care provider.
When employees are comfortable at their workstations and not experiencing nagging pain, they do not fatigue as quickly and can concentrate on their work. When employees bring pre-existing conditions to the job, those costs become the burden of the company if unaddressed and left to worsen. When an employee misses work due to a computer injury, costs increase for overtime to cover this employee, for search/train a replacement, medical costs, etc.
It has long been recognized that a healthy employee is a benefit to an organization because of less lost time for illness and a better work attitude. While employee wellness is promoted to help employees establish a healthy lifestyle outside of work, it is equally important to establish an ergonomic program in the workplace to ensure that pre-existing health conditions, poor work habits, poor postures and repetitive motion activities do not accumulate towards injuries and do not diminish work efficiencies. Ergonomics is an important component of an employee wellness program.