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Industrial Businesses - The Effect of Ergonomics on Productivity

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31% of all non-fatal workplace injuries are due to sprains and strains. Workers in manufacturing, warehouses, and other industrial settings are no strangers to sprains and strains on the job—and their recovery time means lost productivity for their companies.

When faced with losing dollars due to workers’ injuries, companies must take an in-depth look at ways to keep employees safe.

Some organizations have found a way to reduce the likelihood of on-the-job injuries and thereby reduce the associated costs and at the same time create a healthier, happier, and more productive environment for their employees.

How are they doing it?

Ergonomic design.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging a workspace to maximize safety and efficiency within a person’s capabilities and limitations.

Other terms you may hear associated with ergonomics include:

In short, ergonomics is the science behind human-centered design. Designers analyze how employees interact with the objects and processes in a workplace, and then optimize the environment so workers will be more safe, comfortable, productive and efficient.

Why should employers take notice?

The primary aims of ergonomics are to increase employee comfort and prioritize safety.

Increasing Comfort

Think of the benefits of ergonomic design as a logic puzzle.

Improved workplace comfort leads to greater employee happiness, reduces employee turnover, and increases productivity.

Here’s that idea in a real-life example.

Adding ergonomic chairs and workstations to your office, for example, can help employees avoid fatigue and discomfort. The more comfortable employees are in their workspace and doing their everyday tasks, the happier they are and the less likely they are to seek employment elsewhere. That means, as a business leader, you’re saving your organization money by slowing down employee turnover. And the experienced workers who stay happy and comfortable in their jobs increase productivity.

It’s a win-win situation.

Prioritizing Safety

Workplace safety is essential for all businesses, especially for industrial companies that rely on healthy workers to get the job done. When employees are injured on the job or become ill due to environmental factors, your business loses on two fronts: workers’ compensation and lost productivity.

An ergonomic workspace means increased protection of workers from injuries, which leads to fewer missed work days and reduced workers’ comp and healthcare costs.

Additional Benefits of Ergonomics

Improved comfort and the prioritization of safety are critical components of ergonomic design, but those are by no means the only benefits. An ergonomic and human-centered design has the potential to create positive changes company-wide.

  • Creates a better safety culture
  • Improves employee engagement
  • Improves quality of employee output
  • Increases productivity
  • Reduces costs

When you improve the ergonomics in your workplace, you’re doing more than just switching out chairs and desks. Applying ergonomics to your workplace design also conveys that you care about your employees’ wellbeing. In fact, you’re promoting a culture centered around workplace safety. And employees are then empowered to take responsibility for their own health and happiness, as well.

How can employees get involved?

With a focus on human-centered design, employees can get involved taking steps to ensure their productivity and safety from strains, sprains or other work-related injuries.

Three common work scenarios include using a computer, talking on the phone and sitting in a chair. Consider sharing following ergonomic tips with your employees to increase their comfort, safety and productivity.

Using a Computer

  • When typing on a keyboard, make sure the weight of your arms is supported at all times.
  • Watch your head position. Avoid craning your neck forward.
  • Keep your computer monitor directly in front of you, with the top no higher than eye level. An adjustable height chair is an excellent way to stay level with your computer screen, which helps your eyes and your body avoid fatigue.
  • Place your computer screen at least an arm’s length away to avoid eye strain.
  • Reduce screen glare by not placing your computer monitor in front of bright backgrounds, like windows.
  • Look at objects in the distance every so often to rest your eyes.
  • Keep your keyboard and mouse near each other to avoid repetitive reaching motions.

Talking on the Phone

  • Avoid holding the phone between your shoulder and your ear. For quick calls, hold your phone up to your ear with your hand.
  • Use earbuds with a mic or a headset to handle longer or high-frequency calls. You’ll avoid straining your neck and shoulders, and your hands will be free to take notes or complete other tasks.

Sitting in a Chair

  • Sit up straight, no slouching. Good posture reduces strain on your back.
  • Use lumbar support to keep your lower back pain-free. Several office chair options provide adjustable lumbar support.
  • Move your chair, so you’re close to your work. You’ll avoid leaning and straining to reach things. Consider using a rolling chair to make proper placement easy.
  • Avoid dangling your feet when sitting in a chair. Your feet should reach the floor comfortably, and you shouldn’t feel pressure on the backs of your legs. Adjustable height chairs and desks can help you accomplish maximum comfort at your workstation so you can focus on doing your job.

Bring ergonomic design to your workplace.

If you’re considering a human-centered approach to your workspace, ergonomic design doesn’t have to break the bank. And with so many choices in ergonomic design, selecting the best options for your needs can be a challenge.

Our team at Connecting Elements has the knowledge and experience to help you create and implement a human-centered design plan for your industrial workspace within your budget.

Call 877-779-3409 to speak with someone immediately. Or complete this form, and we will get in touch.




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